Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk

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Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk as played by Henry Cavill

born c. 1484 - died August 22, 1545

Character's backstory:
His father was William Brandon, Henry VII's standard bearer at Bosworth Field in 1485 and was reportedly killed by Richard III himself. His mother died when he was about ten and the orphaned boy probably was sent to the Royal court by his uncle. This was the custom of the time but since Brandon was not heir to an important title or great wealth, his case was decided more on sentiment. He had a claim on Henry Tudor's affections since his father had died in his service. That demonstration of loyalty at Bosworth meant a great deal to the first Tudor king. Since Charles was just two years older than Henry's first son, Prince Arthur, it is probable that they were playmates. Though seven years older than King Henry VIII, Charles shared his most prominent characteristics - natural athleticism, robust physical health, and a devotion to all sports (wrestling, hunting, tilting and jousting, etc.) During these adolescent years, the two boys laid the foundation for a lifelong friendship. Brandon was perhaps the only person in England who had successfully retained Henry VIII's affection for over 40 turbulent years.

*In season 3 of the series Brandon is shown as doing many of the actions of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk and the Earl of Shrewsbury with regard to the Pilgrimage of the Grace, putting forward Katherine Howard and "arresting" Thomas Cromwell, stripping his decorations from his robe of state. Norfolk only appeared in season 1.

Gentility: Son of Sir William Brandon and Elizabeth Bruyn, daughter and heiress of Sir Henry Bruyn of South Ockendon in Essex.

Position: Trusted friend of Henry VIII.

Personality type: the bad boy with a magnetic personality.
"In personal qualities, indeed, he was not unlike his sovereign; tall, sturdy, and valiant, with rather a tendency to corpulence, and also with a strong animal nature, not very much restrained at any time by considerations of morality, delicacy, or gratitude." - James Gairdner - Dictionary of National Biography

Signature look: dashing

Endearing trait(s): lovable in bed

Annoying trait(s): inconstant

Title(s): Esquire for the Body, Knight for the Body, Master of the Hourse, Knight of the Garter, Viscount Lisle, Duke of Suffolk, Chamberlain of North Wales, Marshal of the King’s Bench, Joint Marshal of the Household, Ranger of the New Forest, Privy Councilor, Marshal of the King’s Army in France, Governor of Tournai, Ambassador to the King of France, Earl Marshal, Lord President of the Council, Chief Justice in Eyre South of the Trent, Lord High Constable, Lord Steward of the Household, Warden of the Marches towards Scotland, Lieutenant on the Borders

"Brandon was the complete courtier - athletic, fun-loving, fashion-conscious, arrogant and unprincipled. Despite the generous gifts lavished on him by the king, keeping up his position at court meant that he was constantly broke. Like a modern celebrity playboy he was possessed of animal magnetism women found irresistible. His matrimonial life was a tangle of dishonourable commitments and desertions besides which Henry's pale into insignificance. The king was so attracted by this macho, ebullient man that he was prepared to overlook his failings - a state of affairs that encouraged Brandon to push his luck to the limit".
~ Derek Wilson's A Brief History of Henry VIII 2009

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Charles Brandon as played by Henry Cavill

" a second king"

~ one of Margaret of Savoy's agents calls him this
and adv
ises her to write him a kind letter

" ...a person of comely stature, high courage and conformity of disposition to King Henry with whom he became a great favourite"
[Description by William Dugdale, a 17th century antiquary]

Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk - The Tudors Wiki

Charles Brandon - Season 4

Praise the God of all,
drink the wine
and let the world
be the world

~ a French Proverb
that Brandon's character quotes
in Season 4 episode 10
to Edward Seymour, Lord Hertford


Family members:
Father: Sir William Brandon (standard-bearer of Henry VII slain by Richard III in person on Bosworth Field)
Mother: Elizabeth Bruyn

Paternal Grandfather: Sir William Brandon, Marshal of Marshalsea Prison

Paternal Grandmother: Elizabeth Wingfield

Maternal Grandfather: Sir Henry Bruyn
Maternal Grandmother: Elizabeth Darcy

Brother: William Brandon
Sister: Anne Brandon
Half-siblings: William and Humphrey Tyrell (from his mother's 1st marriage to Thomas Tyrell); Katherine and Elizabeth Brandon (illegitimate daughters by his father)
For more see: Ancestry of Charles


Contracted to marry Elizabeth Grey but she refused when she came of age

1st: Margaret Mortimer nee Neville - anulled in 1507

2nd: Anne Browne - died in 1511

3rd: Mary Tudor, Queen Dowager of France - died 24 June 1533 *in the series "The Tudors" this character was Princess Margaret Tudor*

4th: Catherine Willoughby (his ward, his son's betrothed and just 14 years old) - married September 7, 1533. Catherine was actually half Spanish, the daughter of Maria de Salinas, one of Katherine of Aragon's ladies in waiting who came over from Spain with her for her first marriage to Prince Arthur, Henry's brother.*in the series, this character is called Catherine Brooke see Catherine Brandon's profile
with Anne Browne
Lady Anne Brandon, Baroness Grey of Powys ca. 1507 - 1558Lady Mary Brandon, Baroness Monteagle 1510 - 1540/44

with Mary Tudor (Princess Margaret Tudor in the series)
Lord Henry Brandon, 1516 - 1522
Lady Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk 1517 - 1559
Lady Eleanor Brandon, Countess of Cumberland 1519 - 1547
Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln 1523 - 1534 (aged 11)

*For more see: Descendants of Mary and Margaret Tudor

with Catherine Willoughby (Catherine Brandon nee Brooke in the series)
Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk 1535 - 1551 (aged 15)
Charles Brandon, 3rd Duke of Suffolk 1537 - 1551 (aged 13)
- both sons died within one hour of each other of the sweating sickness.

*In the series, Brandon's son is called different names in different seasons. (Edward, Charles & Henry)

Mary Tudor
Brigitte Rousselot (fictional character on the series)

King Henry VIII
William Compton
Anthony Knivert
John Seymour
Edward Seymour

Thomas Wyatt
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk


  • "We're married. She and me were married. You have to tell the King"
  • "You know me, I don't always think"
  • "You're drunk and you are foolish. Henry will forgive us; we just wounded his vanity".
  • " With all my heart, with all my soul, with every ounce of my being. My King, my Sovereign, my dreaded Lord: I beg you to forgive your miserable servant; your humble, worthless, thoughtless servant, who deserves so little but by your bounty and grace has been given so much."
  • "And tell me will you like it when an old man makes love to you?"
  • "My Lord, have you heard what happened to those musicians that were arrested?"
  • - Edward Seymour - "Gardiner examined them, was not satisfied by their answers, so 3 of them have been transferred to the Tower. Uh, may I ask why Your Grace is curious?" -Brandon - "Yes, you may ask."

  • "Is your Majesty considering another marriage?" H -"Perhaps.." C -"And a war in France?" H -"For certain." C -"Do you really want to fight again?" H -"Yes, don't you? I thought you did." C -"Take another wife?" H -"Yes! Am I not still able? To have a wife? To have more children? To be myself?"

  • "But as to religion, I never read the Gospels and never shall. I'm sure they enlighten you, but I prefer them to remain mysterious. As to the promise of a better world, I can only say that England was merry before, and, all things considered, and with all things as they used to be in times past. " Hertford : " Your Grace, if I do not have your support, may I ask if you will act against me? " Brandon: "I'm not sure if this is any answer, my Lord Hertford, but I've always been drawn to a phrase used by the French peasants: "Praise the God of all, drink the wine, and let the world be the world."


  • Easily, the scene where the Duke of Buckingham walks in on Brandon and the Duke's daughter. Brandon makes being bad look very, very good.
  • The dance between Margaret and Brandon in Portugal when Margaret tells Charles that he loves her.
  • When he proposes to Margaret out of the blue.
  • When he is standing at Margaret's coffin and asking her to forgive him.
  • When he feels haunted by the dead after having put down the rebellion.

For more on Charles Brandon - click links below

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Charles Brandon as played by Henry Cavill
Season 4
Charles Brandon,1st Duke of Suffolk
Charles Brandon
from his wedding portrait
with Mary Tudor

Charles Brandon as played by Henry Cavill
Season 3
Charles Brandon as played by Henry Cavill

Charles Brandon - Season 2 Photo Gallery - The Tudors Wiki
Season 2
Charles & Catherine
with his wife Catherine Brandon
wearing the robes of Nobility
Charles Brandon as played by Henry Cavill
Season 1

Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk - The Tudors Wiki
Centre - Wedding portrait of Charles Brandon
& Princess Mary (Tudor)

The Brandons
with his wife Princess Margaret Tudor

Season 4<embed height="300" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" wmode="transparent"/>

Season 3<embed height="300" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" wmode="transparent"/>

Season 1<embed height="300" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" wmode="transparent"/>

Season 2<embed height="300" src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" wmode="transparent"/>
For more on Charles Brandon - click links below

See also: The Tudors Cast | The Tudors Episode Guide