(1st E. Worcester)
Born: ABT 1460
Died: 15 Apr 1526/7
Buried: St. George, Windsor
Notes: Knight of the Garter.
Father: Henry BEAUFORT (3° D. Somerset)
Mother: Joan HILL
Married 1: Elizabeth HERBERT (C. Worcester) Thursday 2 Jun 1492
1. Henry SOMERSET (2º E. Worcester)
2. Elizabeth SOMERSET
Married 2: Elizabeth WEST (C. Worcester)
3. Mary SOMERSET (B. Grey of Wilton)
4. Charles SOMERSET
5. George SOMERSET of Bedmondsfield
Married 3: Eleanor SUTTON (C. Worcester)
Born a bastard just as the Lancastrian cause of his father's family was collapsing, Charles Somerset nonetheless rose to great wealth and power, establishing what would become in the seventeenth century a ducal house that lasts to this day. Through him, the Dukes of Beaufort are the only male-line descendants of the Plantagenets living. He accomplished this by his great talents as a diplomat, military commander, and courtier and his unswerving loyalty to the House of Tudor once it was established on the throne. Both Henry VII and Henry VIII, who could rely absolutely on the loyalty of few men, knew that they could count on him.
He spent much of his youth in exile while the Yorkist kings Edward IV and Richard III occupied the English throne, and was knighted by Archduke Phillip just before the battle of Bosworth. He first appears in the records when among the accounts for the coronation of Henry VII is an entry for three yards of cloth of gold for "the bastard Somerset". The next year he was made captain of the yeoman of the guard and granted estates forfeited by those who had fought for Richard III. He served as a knight of the body from 1486 until 1503. He twice commanded English fleets, including at the battle of St. Aubin.
He was frequently sent on diplomatic missions of the highest importance and was granted many favors and titles, including commissioner of array for wales, a Knight of the Garter, and a knight banneret. In 1501 he was made vice-chamberlain of the household, and was raised to the post of Lord Chamberlain on the second day of Henry VIII's reign.
In 1503 he received more grants of land and the following year was styled Baron Herbert, in right of his wife, and summoned to the House of Lords. The following year he became a privy councillor. He was created Baron Herbert of Ragland, Chepstow, and Gower in his own right in 1506 and was created Earl of Worcester in 1513. The following year he accompanied Princess Mary on her journey to Paris to marry King Louis XII.
As Lord Chancellor, he was principally responsible for the arrangements regarding the meeting between Francois I and Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.
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