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Who was Lady Jane Grey?

Updated on December 3, 2016

Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) also known as The Nine Days Queen, was the daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and Frances Brandon, whose mother, Mary, was the sister of Henry VIII. Thus Jane was great-granddaughter of Henry VII, and all her troubles stemmed from her closeness to the throne. As a child she became the ward of Lord Seymour, who hoped to marry her to Edward VI, but Seymour fell and after his execution the Duke of Northumberland compelled her to marry his son Lord Dudley against her own wishes. As Edward VI lay dying, Northumberland worked on his fears that if Princess Mary (later Mary I) succeeded to the throne she would destroy the Protestant religion, and Edward agreed to leave the crown to Lady Jane. He died eight days later, and on 10 July 1553 Northumberland had Jane proclaimed Queen of England . But the country rallied to Mary and on 19 July Jane's 'reign'ยท came to its end. She was arrested and sent to the Tower of London, but it was understood that, although she was found guilty of treason, Mary would not allow her to die.

However, when her father became involved in Wyatt's unsuccessful rebellion her fate was certain and she was executed on Tower Green on 12 February 1554. Jane was well-educated, highly intelligent and an ardent Protestant; she seems to have possessed all the Tudor obstinacy and determination that characterized Henry VIII and her cousins, Mary and Elizabeth.


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