Margaret Audley, Duchess of Norfolk

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Margaret Audley
Duchess of Norfolk
Margaret Howard, Duchess of Norfolk by Hans Eworth, 1562
Died9 January 1564(1564-01-09) (aged 23–24)
Spouse(s)Lord Henry Dudley
Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk
IssueLady Elizabeth Howard
Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk
Lord William Howard
Lady Margaret Sackville
FatherThomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden
MotherLady Elizabeth Grey

Margaret Howard (née Audley), Duchess of Norfolk (1540 – 9 January 1564) was the sole surviving child[1] of Thomas Audley, 1st Baron Audley of Walden, and Lady Elizabeth Grey, herself the daughter of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, and his wife Margaret Wotton.


Margaret was a wealthy heiress[2] and married first, without issue, Lord Henry Dudley, the youngest son of John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland. Her lands were confiscated when her father-in-law was found guilty of treason and executed. In 1556, after her husband had been pardoned, they sued in chancery court to gain back her territory in Hertfordshire, which had been claimed by Thomas Castell.[3] Henry Dudley was killed at the storming of St. Quentin on 27 August 1557.[4]

In early 1558, Margaret was betrothed to Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. A papal dispensation was required to wed since his first wife, Lady Mary FitzAlan, had been Margaret's first cousin. In November 1558 the Catholic Queen Mary I died and was succeeded by Elizabeth I, who began to restore Protestantism to England. Norfolk and his new wife married without the dispensation during the transition of power and in March 1559 Parliament ratified the marriage.

In January 1559, the new Duchess of Norfolk participated in the coronation of Elizabeth I. Lady Margaret Douglas, the queen's cousin, and the Duchess were the two principal ladies of honour who rode behind the queen in her procession from the Tower of Westminster. The following day, she accompanied her husband who carried St Edward's Crown to Westminster Abbey, while she bore the train of the new queen. After the coronation, the Norfolks retired to Kenninghall and did not return to London until the following autumn.

The Duke and Duchess had four children:


Margaret Howard rejoined her husband for Christmas in 1563 when she was still weak from the birth of her fourth child three weeks earlier. She became ill on the journey and died at Norwich on 9 January 1564.[5] She was buried at St. John the Baptist's church at Norwich alongside Norfolk's first wife and her cousin, Lady Mary FitzAlan. A large tomb on which heraldic quarterings and the two effigies are shown in their robes of state was erected in their honour. After Margaret's death, her mother Lady Elizabeth Grey watched over her grandchildren until the Duke remarried to Elizabeth Leyburne in 1567.



  1. ^ Williams p. 34
  2. ^ Adams p. 171
  3. ^ Beer p. 195
  4. ^ Williams pp. 49, 34
  5. ^ Williams p. 87
  6. ^ George Edward Cokayne. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. I, p. 348.
  7. ^ a b c d Douglas Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 2nd Edition, Vol. II, pp. 141, 234, 307.


  • Adams, Simon: Leicester and the Court: Essays in Elizabethan Politics. Manchester UP. 2002. ISBN 0-7190-5325-0.
  • Beer, B.L.: Northumberland: The Political Career of John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland. The Kent State University Press. 1973. ISBN 0-87338-140-8.
  • Neville Williams: Thomas Howard, Fourth Duke of Norfolk. Barrie & Rockliff. 1964.