Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, styled Earl of Surrey from 1483 to 1485 and again from 1489 to 1514, was the only son of John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, by his first wife, Katherine Moleyns. The Duke was the grandfather of both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard and the great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. He served four monarchs as a soldier and statesman.
Surrey was an executor of the will of King Henry VII when the King died on 21 April 1509, and played a prominent role in the coronation of King Henry VIII, in which he served as Earl Marshal.
He challenged Thomas Wolsey to become the new king's first minister, but conceded to Wolsey's supremacy.
Surrey expected to lead the 1513 expedition to France, but was left behind when the King left for Calais on 30 June 1513.
Shortly afterwards James IV launched an invasion into the north of England, and Surrey, with nobles and his sons Thomas and Edmund, crushed James's larger force near Branxton, Northumberland, on 9 September 1513 at the Battle of Flodden.
The Scots lost as many as 10,000 men, and King James was killed.
The victory at Flodden brought Surrey great renown and royal rewards. On 1 February 1514, he was created Duke of Norfolk, and his son Thomas was made Earl of Surrey. Both were granted lands and annuities, and the Howard arms were augmented in honour of Flodden with an escutcheon bearing the lion of Scotland pierced through the mouth with an arrow.
In the final decade of his life, Norfolk continued his career as a courtier, diplomat and soldier. In 1514 he joined Wolsey and Foxe in negotiating the marriage of Mary Tudor to King Louis XII of France, and escorted her to France for the wedding.
On 1 May 1517, he led a private army of 1300 retainers into London to suppress the Evil May Day riots. In May 1521, he presided as Lord High Steward over the trial of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.
By the spring of 1522, Norfolk was 80 years of age and in failing health. He withdrew from court, resigned as Lord Treasurer in favour of his son in December of that year, and after attending the opening of Parliament in April 1523, retired to his ducal castle at Framlingham in Suffolk where he died on 21 May 1524.
After the dissolution of Thetford Priory, the Howard tombs were moved to the Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham.