Monday, March 28, 2011

Question from Guy - John Dudley and Mary I

I read that John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland had once been close to Mary I and had made her godmother to his daughter. Is this true?

If so, what happened to his daughter? Did she side with her godmother or her father?

1 comment:

Susan Higginbotham said...

According to Van der Delft, the imperial ambassador, Mary was a godmother to one of Dudley's daughters in November 1545:
"Sire, four days since, out of compliment to the position I hold here as representing your. Majesty, I was invited by the Lord Admiral [Dudley] to stand sponsor to a daughter of his, the godmothers being Lady Mary in person and the widowed Duchess of Suffolk [Katherine Brandon, Charles Brandon's widow]." Dudley had five daughters, only two of whom were living in 1555, so it's not clear whether this baby girl was one of the two survivors. The girl born in 1545 may have been Katherine Dudley, but there were two Dudley daughters named Katherine, one of whom died young.

The surviving Katherine Dudley married Henry Hastings, the future Earl of Huntington, in May 1553. Based on the 1555 will of her mother the duchess, which suggests that Katherine had not yet consummated her marriage to Hastings and that Katherine was still in her mother's care, historian Simon Adams has surmised that Katherine was under the age of 12 in 1553. Thus, she was not in a position to take sides.

The only other daughter of John Dudley who was known to be alive in 1553 was Mary, who married Henry Sidney. Mary was sent by her parents to bring Lady Jane Grey to the privy council, where Jane learned of Edward VI's death.

Neither Mary Sidney nor Katherine Hastings shared their brothers' imprisonment in the Tower, though Katherine's husband and father-in-law were briefly imprisoned.

According to her privy purse expenses, Mary was also godmother to one of Dudley's sons in 1536-37.

Other than serving as godmother to a couple of his children, I don't know of any evidence that Mary was close to Dudley--she seems to have disliked him from at least 1550, when she called him "the most unstable man in England."