Henry VIII,the Reign
c. 1484 – 22 August 1545
1st Duke of Suffolk
Profile Charles Brandon
Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, 1st Viscount Lisle, was the son of Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn. Through his third wife Mary Tudor he was brother-in-law to Henry VIII. His father was the standard-bearer of Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, later King Henry VII.
Charles Brandon was brought up at the court of Henry VII. He is described by Dugdale as "a person comely of stature, high of courage and conformity of disposition to King Henry VIII, with whom he became a great favourite". Brandon held a succession of offices in the royal household, becoming Master of the Horse in 1513, and received many valuable grants of land. On 15 May 1513, he was created Viscount Lisle, having entered into a marriage contract with his ward, Elizabeth Grey, suojure Viscountess Lisle. The contract was ended and the title was forfeited as a result of Brandon's marriage to Mary Tudor in 1515.
He distinguished himself at the sieges of Thérouanne and Tournai in the French campaign of 1513. One of the agents of Margaret of Savoy, governor of the Netherlands, writing from before Thérouanne, reminded her that Lord Lisle was a "second king" and advised her to write him a kind letter.
At this time, Henry VIII was allegedly secretly urging Margaret to marry Lisle, whom he created Duke of Suffolk, although he was careful to disclaim, on 4 March 1514, any complicity in the project to her father, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.
After his marriage to Mary, Suffolk lived quietly, but he was present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520. In 1523 he was sent to Calais to command the English troops there. He invaded France in company with Floris d'Egmont, Count of Buren, who was at the head of the Flemish troops, and laid waste the north of France, but disbanded his troops at the approach of winter.
After Wolsey's disgrace, Suffolk's influence increased. He was sent with Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, to demand the Great Seal from Wolsey; the same noblemen conveyed the news of Anne Boleyn's marriage to King Henry, after the divorce from Queen Catherine; and Suffolk acted as High Steward at the new queen's coronation. He was one of the commissioners appointed by Henry to dismiss Catherine's household.
His family had a residence on the west side of Borough High Street, London, for at least half a century prior to his building of Suffolk Place at the site.
Suffolk supported Henry's ecclesiastical policy, receiving a large share of the lands after the dissolution of the monasteries. In 1544, he was for the second time in command of an English army for the invasion of France.
He died at Guildford, Surrey, on 24 August in the following year. He was buried at Windsor in St George's Chapel, at Henry VIII's expense.