The Tudor Society
  • January 8 – Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, and an interesting family story

    Photo of the ruins of Brougham Castle, Henry Clifford's home, and a picture of the earl's arms.

    On 8th January 1570, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland, died at his home, Brougham Castle. He was buried at Holy Trinity Church, Skipton.

    According to a family story, Clifford was so devastated at the death of his first wife, Lady Eleanor Brandon, that he could only be brought back from a certain death by suckling from a woman’s breasts!

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  • Eleanor Brandon, Countess of Cumberland

    In my article on Margaret Clifford, Countess of Derby, I noted that Margaret has been neglected by historians and novelists alike. Both Margaret and her mother Eleanor Brandon, Countess of Cumberland, have been marginalised in both fiction and non-fiction, especially when compared with other royal women of the period such as Lady Jane Grey and her sisters, Lady Margaret Douglas and, of course, Henry VIII’s six wives. The academic and popular fascination with the Grey family is explicable in view of their dynastic importance during the reigns of Edward VI and Elizabeth I; during Edward’s reign, Jane Grey was named heiress to the throne and would have reigned as queen of England had it not been for the extraordinary success of Mary Tudor’s coup in the summer of 1553. Jane’s sister Katherine was widely regarded as a viable successor to Elizabeth I, which enraged and unnerved the Tudor queen. After clandestinely marrying Edward Seymour, Katherine was incarcerated in the Tower of London, her marriage declared invalid and her children deemed to be illegitimate. More recently, Lady Margaret Douglas has attracted the interest of historians and novelists; as the mother-in-law of Mary Queen of Scots and the grandmother of James I of Scotland, this interest is perhaps not surprising.

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