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Lady Jane Grey

Grey, Lady Jane, 1537–54, queen of England for nine days. She was the daughter of Henry Grey, marquess of Dorset (later duke of Suffolk), and Frances Brandon, daughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary. She became a ward of Baron Seymour of Sudeley, who tried unsuccessfully to bring about a marriage between her and Edward VI. After Seymour's execution (1549) for treason, she fell under the control of John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, who married (1553) her to his youngest son, Lord Guilford Dudley. Northumberland persuaded the boy king, Edward, to change the order of succession and name Lady Jane, a Protestant, to follow him on the throne. After Edward's death Lady Jane, only 15 years old, was proclaimed queen on July 10, 1553. The English people, however, rallied to the cause of Mary I, and Northumberland's army deserted. After nine days as nominal queen, Lady Jane was imprisoned. Because of her youth and innocence her life would probably have been spared had not her father joined the rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1554). Lady Jane, her husband, and her father were beheaded.

See J. D. Taylor, ed., Documents of Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen of England, 1553 (2004); H. W. Chapman, Lady Jane Grey (1962); A. Plowden, Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk (1986) and Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen (2003); E. Ives, Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery (2009).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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