Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey

National Gallery, London, exhibit on DeLaRoche featuring his execution portrait of Lady Jane Grey
On this day in 1554: The execution of de facto Queen Regnant Jane Grey. Jane's cousin, King Edward VI, had changed the succession before he died to over-ride his deceased father's succession act which put his half-sister by Katherine of Aragon, Lady Mary, before the Protestant Lady Elizabeth. Instead of just cutting Mary out, he bi-passed BOTH Mary AND Elizabeth for the line Henry had designated as his successors if Mary and Elizabeth both died childless.. that of his younger sister, Princess Mary, Queen of France and Charles Brandon. Technically, the next in line was Princess Mary's eldest daughter, Lady Frances Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk, but Edward also bi-passed her for her daughter, Lady Jane Grey. The sudden burden was placed upon her daughter who never wanted to become queen, but none the less became the queen of nine days. Lady Mary's claim to the throne as a daughter of Henry VIII was more legit in the eyes of the English people and even Lady Elizabeth supported her half-sister in this decision and the two road into London together to take back the throne in the name of Mary who became Queen Mary I. Initially, Lady Jane's life was spared; but Sir Thomas Wyatt's rebellion in January and February 1554 against Queen Mary's plans of a Spanish match led to her execution at the age of 16 or 17, and that of her husband, Lord Dudley, brother of Elizabeth's favorite, Robert.
The execution of Lady Jane Grey, de facto Queen of England by Paul DelaRoche
Lady Jane Grey had an excellent humanist education and a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. She had stayed with the Queen Dowager, Katherine Parr, where she was tutored by John Aylmer, a close friend of Katherine's chaplain, John Parkhurst and her almoner, Miles Coverdale. Given the queen's leaning toward learning and her affection for Jane, it is probably that Katherine had some effect on the direction of Jane's education during the two years that she spent with the Dowager Queen. 
A committed Protestant, she was posthumously regarded as not only a political victim but also a martyr.

1 comment:

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