Grey, Lady Jane

Grey, Lady Jane
born October 1537, Bradgate, Leicestershire, Eng.
died Feb. 12, 1554, London

Titular queen of England for nine days in 1553.

The great-granddaughter of Henry VII, she was married in May 1553 to the son of the duke of Northumberland. Northumberland persuaded the dying Edward VI to set aside his half sisters as successors in favour of the Protestant Lady Jane. She was proclaimed queen on July 10, despite popular support for Edward's half sister Mary Tudor (see Mary I). Mary was proclaimed queen on July 19 after Lady Jane gladly relinquished the crown. Committed to the Tower of London, Lady Jane and her husband were sentenced to death in 1554. The sentence was initially suspended, but her father's participation in Wyat's rebellion sealed her fate, and she was beheaded.

Lady Jane Grey, detail of a panel attributed to Master John, с 1545; in the National Portrait ...

Courtesy of The National Portrait Gallery, London

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▪ queen of England
also called  (from 1553) Lady Jane Dudley  
born October 1537, Bradgate, Leicestershire, Eng.
died Feb. 12, 1554, London
 titular queen of England for nine days in 1553. Beautiful and intelligent, she reluctantly allowed herself at age 15 to be put on the throne by unscrupulous politicians; her subsequent execution by Mary Tudor (Mary I) aroused universal sympathy.

      Lady Jane was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII through her mother, Lady Frances Brandon, whose own mother was Mary, the younger of King Henry VIII's two sisters. Provided with excellent tutors, she spoke and wrote Greek and Latin at an early age; she was also proficient in French, Hebrew, and Italian. When Lady Jane was barely nine years old she went to live in the household of Queen Catherine Parr, and on the latter's death in September 1548 she was made a ward of Catherine's fourth husband, Thomas Seymour, Lord Seymour of Sudeley (Seymour, Thomas Seymour, Baron), who planned her marriage to his nephew and her cousin, the young king Edward VI. But Seymour was beheaded for treason in 1549, and Jane returned to her studies at Bradgate.

      After Lady Jane's father, hitherto Marquess of Dorset, was created Duke of Suffolk (Suffolk, Henry Grey, duke of, 3rd marquess of Dorset, Lord Ferrers of Groby, Lord Harington, Lord Bonville) in October 1551, she was constantly at the royal court. On May 21, 1553, John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland (Northumberland, John Dudley, duke of, earl of Warwick, Viscount Lisle, Baron Lisle), who exercised considerable power at that point in the minority of King Edward VI, joined with Suffolk in marrying her to his son, Lord Guildford Dudley. Her Protestantism, which was extreme, made her the natural candidate for the throne of those who supported the Reformation, such as Northumberland. With the support of Northumberland, who had persuaded the dying Edward to set aside his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth in favour of any male heirs who might be born to the Duchess of Suffolk and, failing them, to Lady Jane, she and her male heirs were designated successors to the throne.

      Edward died on July 6, 1553; on July 10, Lady Jane—who fainted when the idea was first broached to her—was proclaimed queen. However, Edward's sister Mary Tudor, the heir according to an act of Parliament (1544) and Henry VIII's will (1547), had the support of the populace, and on July 19 even Suffolk, who by now despaired of success in the plans for his daughter, attempted to retrieve his position by proclaiming Mary queen. Northumberland's supporters melted away, and the Duke of Suffolk easily persuaded his daughter to relinquish the unwanted crown. At the beginning of Mary I's reign, Lady Jane and her father were committed to the Tower of London, but he was soon pardoned. Lady Jane and her husband, however, were arraigned for high treason on Nov. 14, 1553. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. The execution of the sentence was suspended, but the participation of her father, in early February 1554, in Sir Thomas Wyat's rebellion sealed her fate. She and her husband were beheaded on Feb. 12, 1554; her father was executed 11 days later.

Additional Reading
Biographies include Hester W. Chapman, Lady Jane Grey (1962, reissued 1985); Alison Plowden, Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk (1985); and Mary Luke, The Nine Days Queen (1986).John S. Morrill

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  • GREY, Lady Jane — (1537 1554) Jane Grey, for nine days queen of England in 1553 and dead by the execu­tioner s hand before she was seventeen, was a young woman of extraordinary learning and courage. She was the granddaughter of Henry VIII s* younger sister Mary… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Grey, Lady Jane — (oct. 1537, Bradgate, Leicestershire, Inglaterra–12 feb. 1554, Londres). Reina titular de Inglaterra durante nueve días en 1553. Bisnieta de Enrique VII, fue obligada a casarse en mayo de 1553 con el hijo del duque de Northumberland. Este último… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • GREY, LADY JANE —    the ill fated nine days queen, born at Bradgate, Leicestershire; was the daughter of the Duke of Suffolk and the great granddaughter of Henry VII.; her talents were of a rare order, and sedulously cultivated; she attained to great proficiency… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Lady Jane Grey — The Streatham Portrait, discovered at the beginning of the 21st century and believed to be a copy of a contemporary portrait of Lady Jane Grey.[1] …   Wikipedia

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  • Lady Jane Grey — noun Queen of England for nine days in 1553; she was quickly replaced by Mary Tudor and beheaded for treason (1537 1554) • Syn: ↑Grey • Instance Hypernyms: ↑Queen of England • Member Holonyms: ↑Tudor, ↑House of Tudor * * * Lady …   Useful english dictionary

  • Lady Jane Grey — Dudley (Künstler unbekannt) Lady Jane Grey (* 1537 in Bradgate in Leicestershire (Mittelengland); † 12. Februar 1554 im Tower in London, hingerichtet) beanspruchte im Jahr 1553 für kurze Zeit den Titel einer Königin von England. Seither hat sie… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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