the Brandon boys

In my first book, I had the characters of Charles and Henry Brandon.  These were the sons of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who was a life long friend to King Henry VIII and at one time married to his sister, Mary.

The boys were born from his next marriage to Catherine Willoughby.  She was originally intended to be married to his son from his marriage to Mary Tudor, though that son did not live long enough for the planned marriage and Charles Brandon married her himself.

The marriage was happy enough and produced these two boys, who grew strong.  The eldest, Henry, inherited his father’s Dukedom in 1545.

The 10 year old Duke and his younger brother were educated together at a college in Cambridge, and showed great promise by all accounts.

Unfortunately that promise would never come to be shown.  During an epidemic of the sweating sickness in 1551, both boys were taken to the Bishop of Lincoln’s property in Huntingdon, for their safety.

This did not help as both boys contracted the sweat and the elder boy died on the 14th July of that year.  His brother Charles inherited Henry’s title, but would not hold it for long, as he followed his brother to the grave around an hour later.

Their mother is said to have been heartbroken, which is understandable.

A joint funeral was held in the September of 1551, with two of every funerary item required. They were buried together in the village of Buckden, near where they died.

As a mother myself, who has lost a child, I can imagine how hard life would have been for their poor mother, watching her only children dying so close together.  Maybe it was a comfort to her to lie them to rest together, as they had always been in life, but the pain of seeing them lost to her must have been terribly hard.  She did marry again and have children with her second husband, but that pain would have stayed with her.

Two poor little boys lost to a world on this day, so sad.


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