Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Who Are All These Kings?: Jane

Jane was the short lived Queen of England for a very short spell in 1553.

Usually known as Lady Jane Grey, she was proclaimed Queen after the death of Edward VI, but was supplanted by Mary I, who was clearly the rightful monarch, after a mere nine days. She was the original nine days` wonder.

Jane was born at Bradgate House in Leicestershire in 1537. This red brick house had been recently built, and its ruins are now a pleasant focal point of Bradgate Park.

She was the granddaughter of Henry VIII`s sister Mary. Although Henry had decreed that Mary`s children had the right of succession only after the deaths of his own children and their heirs, Edward VI amended his father`s will and nominated Jane as his heir, to ensure that the Protestant cause would be continued.

He had been encouraged to do this by his adviser the Duke of Northumberland, who realised that it would give him even more power as he recently married his son Guildford Dudley to Jane. They were married at Ely Place in Holborn.

On Edward`s death in 1553, the well mannered and well educated Jane, against her better judgement, was proclaimed Queen. Much of the nobility, however, were appalled by Northumberland`s scheming and there was overwhelming public support for the Catholic Mary.

Mary, who had been staying at Framlingham Castle at the time, raised an army which defeated Northumberland, and he was promptly beheaded.

Jane and her young husband were imprisoned in the Tower of London, although Mary realised that Jane had been merely a puppet and decided not to have them executed.

However, when the following year Jane`s parents, the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, became involved in Sir Thomas Wyatt`s rebellion, May felt that she had no choice, and Jane and her husband were beheaded.

Jane was buried in the chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower.