Today is the traditional date given for the birth of Katherine Willoughby (married names Brandon and Bertie), Duchess of Suffolk, and a woman who is known for her patronage of the reformed religion and reformists.
She is a woman who appeals to me because of her reformed faith (the Reformation is my second favourite Tudor topic!) but also because of the glimpses we see of her character in the records. How can you not love a woman who called her dog Gardiner, after Bishop Gardiner, so that she could call “Gardiner” to heel? That just makes me chuckle. Fantastic! What spirit?!
Katherine was the daughter of William Willoughby, 11th Baron Willoughby de Eresby, and Lady Maria de Salinas, lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon. She became Charles Brandon, Duke f Suffolk’s ward in 1529 and married him in 1533. Brandon died in 1545 and in 1552 Katherine married her gentleman usher, Richard Bertie. Katherine died on 19th September 1580.
You can read all about her in my article from 2013 – click here.