Ladies-in-Waiting: Dorothy Bray, Lady Chandos

Dorothy Bray, Lady Chandos of Sudeley (c.1524-31 October 1605) was the daughter of Edmund, 1st Baron Bray (1484-18 October 1539) and Jane Hallighwell (c.1480-24 October 1558). She was at court as a maid of honor to Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Katherine Parr.

She embarked upon a brief tryst with Sir William Parr, brother of the future queen c.1541, which was over by 1543. Parr’s wife, Anne Bourchier, heiress to the Earl of Essex, had already left their marriage and embarked with her lover and had children by him, so Parr was left behind. Parr’s interest was then diverted to Dorothy’s niece, Elisabeth Brooke.

Dorothy married Edmund Brydges, 2nd Baron Chandos (d.11 September 1573) and their children were Eleanor (b.c.1546), Giles (1547-1594), Mary, Katherine (1554-1596), and William (d. 1602). Dorothy was at court as Lady Brydges during Mary Tudor’s reign.

In 1574, Queen Elizabeth visited Lady Chandos at Sudeley Castle. In 1588, she was living in Essex House in London and had 220 books in her bedchamber there.

Dorothy’s second husband was a younger man, Sir William Knollys (1545-1632).

Dorothy was known among courtiers as “old lady Chandos”. Unfortunately, her husband fell in love with one of the queen’s maids of honor, Mary Fitton. During that time, Dorothy was living with him in a house adjoining the royal tilt yard (Violet Wilson. Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor and Ladies of the Privy Chamber).

Dorothy’s daughters, Eleanor and Katherine, and eventually her granddaughters, Frances and Elizabeth Brydges, would also become maids of honor.

Portraits: The “Duchess of Chandos” attributed to John Bettes the Younger, 1578, could be Dorothy Bray, although the sitter looks very young for someone who would be around fifty-four years old at the time. Dorothy’s effigy appears with her second husband in the church at Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire.

Sources

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Author: tudorqueen6

Meg McGath is the author behind the articles on tudorqueen6; she has been studying the history and genealogy of the Parr family since 2007. Now, a decade later, she is still writing about her favorite Tudor queen, Kateryn Parr. Meg studied Women's Studies with an emphasis on English Women's History at the University of Maryland. One of her goals is to end the myth that Kateryn Parr was nothing more than a nursemaid to the aging King Henry VIII. "It simply isn't true, she did so much more for the Royal Family and her country," says Meg. And, of course, to educate Tudor enthusiasts on the prestigious lineage and connections of the Parr family. "Kateryn was related to everyone at court by blood or marriage. She was a descendant of the Beaufort line of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, and Katherine Swynford. She shared this line with two of her husbands, Lord Latimer and the King," Meg states. A book is always her end game with Parr, but Meg has yet to put all the information together and send it to a publisher. "I've been told by many, including Professors, that I am a good writer..." says Meg. "The book, would focus on the generations before the Queen and how the Parr family became courtiers and relatives of The Crown." Meg has also done extensive research on the massive jewels and tiara collection of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty's collection was built starting with Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenberg, wife of King George III, and grandmother of Queen Victoria. Meg is now putting together a separate blog that coincides with her Tudor Wiki contributions which started in 2007.

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