Henry VIII,the Reign
Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk
1473 – 25 August 1554
3rd Duke of Norfolk KG PC
Earl of Surrey
Profile Thomas Howard 3rd Duke of Norfolk
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk KG PC, Earl of Surrey from 1514 was a prominent politician. He was an uncle two of King Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard.
Howard was the eldest son of Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk by his first wife, Elizabeth Tilney, the daughter of Frederick Tilney and widow of Humphrey Bourchier. He was descended in the female line from Thomas of Brotherton, 1st Earl of Norfolk, the sixth son of King Edward I.
In 1485 both his father, then styled Earl of Surrey, and his grandfather John Howard, 1st Duke of Norfolk, had fought for King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and because of allegiance to the losing side, the Howard family's titles became forfeit.
Howard often employed in military operations. In 1497 he served in a campaign against the Scots under the command of his father, who knighted him on 30 September 1497. He was made a Knight of the Garter after the accession of King Henry VIII, and became friendly with the King, with lodgings at court. On 4 May 1513, he was appointed Lord Admiral and on 9 September helped to defeat the Scots at the Battle of Flodden. Anne of York died in 1511, and early in 1513 he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.
On 1 February 1514 Howard's father, then Earl of Surrey, was created Duke of Norfolk, and by letters patent issued on the same day Howard was created Earl of Surrey for life. In September 1514, he escorted the King's sister Princess Mary to France for her forthcoming marriage. In 1517 he quelled a May Day riot in London with the use of soldiers.
At the end of 1521 he was recalled from Ireland to take command of the English fleet in naval operations against France. On 4 December 1522 Surrey was made Lord Treasurer upon his father's resignation of the office, and on 21 May 1524 he succeeded his father as 3rd Duke of Norfolk
In 1523 Wolsey, had secured to the Duke of Suffolk the reversion of the office of Earl Marshal which had been held by Norfolk's father, and in 1525 the Duke of Richmond replaced Norfolk as Lord Admiral.
After Wolsey’s fall his service to the King brought him rewards. He received grants of monastic lands in Norfolk and Suffolk, was employed on diplomatic missions, and was created a knight of the French Order of St Michael in 1532 and Earl Marshal of England on 28 May 1533.
As Lord High Steward, he presided at the trial of his niece, Queen Anne Boleyn, in May 1536.
Surrey's marriage to his second wife, Elizabeth was not successful he took a mistress, Elizabeth Holland who lived in the Howard household. Elizabeth Stafford separated from her husband in the 1530s. She claimed that in March 1534 the Duke ‘locked me up in a chamber, [and] took away my jewels and apparel', and then moved her to Redbourn, Hertfordshire.
During the Pilgrimage of Grace up rising Norfolk shared command of the King's forces with the Earl of Shrewsbury and persuaded the rebels to go home by promising them a pardon and that Parliament would consider their grievances. However, when further rebellions broke out in January 1537 he instigated a bloody retribution.
After the suppression of the rebellion Norfolk challenged Thomas Cromwell’s reforms.
On 5 May, the House of Lords appointed a committee to consider questions of religious doctrine. Although he was not a member of the committee, on 16 May Norfolk presented six conservative articles of religion to Parliament for consideration. On 30 May, the Six Articles and the penalties for failure to conform to them were enacted into law, and on 28 June the conservative articles received royal assent.
Although Cromwell largely recovered from the Six Articles set back to his policy he persuaded Henry VIII to marry German Anne Of Cleves
The marriage however was a spectacular failure and the King's disillusionment with Anne's physical appearance when he met her in January 1540 and his desire after the wedding had taken place to have the marriage annulled gave Norfolk an opportunity to bring Cromwell down.
On 10 June 1540 Cromwell was arrested at a Privy Council meeting accused of high treason, and Norfolk 'tore the St George from his neck’. On 9 July 1540 Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves was annulled. On 28 July 1540 Cromwell was executed, and on the same day the King wed Norfolk's niece Catherine Howard as his fifth wife.
The marriage was short, his new wife was an adulterer and Queen Catherine was condemned by a bill of attainder and executed on 13 February 1542. Several other members of the Howard family were sent to the Tower, including Norfolk's stepmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. However, the French ambassador Marillac wrote on 17 January 1541 that Norfolk had not only escaped punishment, but had apparently been restored to his 'full former credit and authority'.
Norfolk was appointed Lieutenant-General north of Trent on 29 January 1541, and Captain-General in a campaign against the Scots in August 1542. In June 1543, he declared war on France in the King's name and was appointed Lieutenant-General of the army. During the campaign of May–October 1544 he besieged Montreuil, while the King captured Boulogne before returning home. Complaining of lack of provisions and munitions, Norfolk eventually raised the siege of Montreuil, and realizing that Boulogne could not realistically be held by the English for long, left it garrisoned and withdrew to Calais, for which he was severely rebuked by the King.
During the King's final years Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, and Henry VIII's last queen, Catherine Parr gained influence with the King while the conservative Norfolk became isolated politically. He attempted to form an alliance with the Seymours through a marriage between his widowed daughter, Mary Howard and Hertford's brother Thomas Seymour, but the effort was forestalled by the provocative conduct of his eldest son and heir, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who had assumed the royal arms of Edward the Confessor as part of his personal heraldry.
On 12 December 1546 both Norfolk and Surrey were arrested and sent to the Tower. On 12 January 1547 Norfolk acknowledged that he had "concealed high treason, in keeping secret the false acts of my son, Henry Earl of Surrey, in using the arms of St. Edward the Confessor, which pertain only to kings", and offered his lands to the King. Norfolk's family, including his estranged wife, his daughter Mary, and his mistress, Elizabeth Holland, all gave evidence against him. Surrey was beheaded on 19 January 1547, and on 27 January 1547 Norfolk was attainted. The dying King gave his assent to Norfolk's death by royal commissioners, and it was rumoured that he would be executed on the following day. He was saved by the King's death on 28 January and the Council's decision not to inaugurate the new reign with bloodshed.
Norfolk remained in the Tower throughout the reign of King Edward VI. He was released and pardoned by Queen Mary in 1553, and in Mary's first parliament, October–December 1553, his statutory attainder was declared void, thereby restoring him to the dukedom.