Author(s): David Baldwin
In 1533, Katherine Willoughby married Charles Brandon, Henry VIII's closest friend. She would go on to serve at the court of every Tudor monarch except Henry VII and Mary Tudor. Duchess of Suffolk at the age of fourteen, she became a powerful woman ruling over her own households and wielding influence through her proximity to the king. She grew to know Henry well. In 1538, just three months after Jane Seymour's death, it was reported that they had been 'masking and visiting' together, and in 1543 she became a lady-in-waiting to his sixth wife, Catherine Parr. Henry had a reputation for tiring of his wives once the excitement of the pursuit was over, and in February 1546, only six months after Charles Brandon's death, it was believed that Henry intended to wed Katherine Willoughby himself if he could end his present marriage. This is the remarkable story of a life of privilege, tragedy and danger lived by a woman who nearly became the seventh wife of Henry VIII.
David Baldwin is a medieval historian who has taught at the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham for many years. His historical research has focused on the great medieval families in the Midlands and he has contributed articles to historical journals and lectured regularly to societies and conferences in this field. He lives near Leicester.