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House of Tudor - Lady Jane Grey

Name: Lady Jane Grey
Father: Henry Grey
Mother: Frances Brandon
Born: October 15, 1537 at Bradgate, Leicestershire
Married: Lord Guildford Dudley, on May 21, 1553
Died: February 12, 1554 at Tower of London, aged 16 years, 3 months, and 28 days
Buried at: Chapel Royal, London

Lady Jane Grey was born at Bradgate Park, Leicestershire around October 1537. Her mother was the daughter of Henry VIII’s sister Mary Tudor, and she was a great granddaughter of Henry VII. She was raised a Protestant and had a difficult childhood as her mother dominated her meek mannered daughter. In 1546 was sent to live as a ward of Catherine Parr who had married Henry VIII in 1543. Jane received warm affection from Catherine and blossomed in the surroundings of the court

When Henry died, Catherine married Thomas Seymour but the marriage was short lived as Catherine died shortly after giving birth to her child. Thomas Seymour proposed that Jane marry Henry’s son Edward, however his brother Edward Seymour Duke of Somerset who was regent to the young King wanted Edward to marry Elizabeth daughter of Henry II of France. In the event both Seymours fell from power and were executed by John Dudley the Duke of Northumberland. Jane was then offered to Northumberland’s son Lord Guildford Dudley whom she was reluctant to marry until forced to do so by her mother.

The Dudleys were prominent among the new Protestant nobles who had done well out of the closing of the Catholic monasteries, and when Edward became sickly they feared the prospect of Henry’s catholic daughter Mary becoming queen and restoring Catholicism. Under pressure from Northumberland Edward’s will was changed to include Lady Jane Grey as his Protestant heir. Edward died on 6 July 1553 and Northumberland had Lady Jane Grey proclaimed as Queen of England on 10 July 1553. She refused to name her husband Guildford Dudley as king.

However within nine days Mary had gathered sufficient support to triumphantly ride into London and Parliament proclaimed her Queen Mary I. Jane and her husband were accused of treason and sentenced to death; however Mary spared them and allowed them to live in the Tower of London. In January 1554 there was a Protestant rebellion led by Thomas Wyatt calling for Jane’s restoration. The rebellion failed and Mary was pressed to sign the death warrant. Both Jane and Guildford Dudley were executed on 12 February 1554.

Lady Jane Grey's Signature