On the 22nd April 1515 Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk wrote a desperate letter to Henry VIII pledging his loyalty and service after his secret marriage to Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor. Brandon believed that the English Council was out to destroy him and metaphorically throws himself at Henry’s feet promising to endure any punishment that the king wished of him.

‘Most gracious Sovereign Lord, So it is that I am informed divers ways that all your whole council, my Lord of York excepted, with many other, are clearly determined to tympe your grace that I may either be put to death or put in prison, and so to be destroyed. Alas, Sir, I may say that I have a hard fortune, seeing that there was never none of them in trouble but I was glad to help them to my power, and that your grace knows best. And now that I am in this none little trouble and sorrow, now they are ready to help to destroy me. But, Sir, I can no more but God forgive them whatsoever comes to me; for I am determined. For, Sir, your grace is he that is my sovereign lord and master, and he that hath brought me up out of nought; and I am your subject and servant, and he that hath offended your grace in breaking my promise that I made your grace touching the queen your sister; for the which I, with most humble heart, will yield myself into your grace’s hands to do with my poor body your gracious pleasure, not fearing the malice of them; for I know your grace of such nature that it cannot lie in their powers to cause you to destroy me for their malice. But what punishment I have I shall thank God and your grace of it, and think that I have well deserved it, both to God and your grace; as knows our Lord, who send your grace your most honourable heart’s desire with long life, and me most sorrowful wretch your gracious favour, what sorrows soever I endure therefor. At Mottryll, the 22nd day of April, by your most humble subject and servant, CHARLES SUFFOLKE.’

Brandon had not have worried, the couple returned home ten days later landing at Dover on the 2nd of May. They were met by Henry VIII and a great retinue at nearby Birling House. The King warmly greeted the couple and accepted his younger sister’s explanation that it was her that was responsible for the marriage and not Brandon. Charles Brandon and Mary were married for a third time at Greenwich on the 13th of May in front of Henry VIII and Queen Katherine of Aragon, firmly back in the King’s favour.

Master of the Brandon Portrait

Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk

 

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