Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lady Jane Grey: Queen of England for Nine Days

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Well, lately I've been reading in my history about Lady Jane Grey. I have read bit's and pieces about her here and there but never really studied up on her you might say. Lady Jane Grey was only 15 when England's lord chamberlain John Dudley, duke of Northumberland arranged for her to marry his own son Guilford Dudley. John Dudley planned to change from Henry VIII'schoice of having his own children succeed the throne to Lady Jane. Dudley also planned to control the throne by way of his own son though his marriage to Jane. The young and sickly King Edward VI was dying at age 16 and John Dudley convinced Edward to make Jane his heir. Jane and Edward were born in the same year and month. Edward had been dead two days before Jane or the people of England knew about. Jane did not want the crown, however she was being pressed by certain officials and her parents. Wanting to honor her parents wishes she submitted intears. At her coronation she practically refused the crown but only agreed to have it set on her head and then off again. Her husband Guilford Dudley then insisted that she make him King. She refused and he eventually left the room in tears seeking out his mother. Jane was Queen for nine days, and was thereafter overthrown by Edwards half sister Mary Tudor. When Mary came forward for the thrown the people that had forced her into an unwanted marriage and crown deserted her right and left. When Jane was brought news of her cousin Mary being proclaimed Queen she was relieved, because she knew it was Marys right and that she had done nothing but obey her parents and officials, and after all it was Edwards wish for her to be queen after him, or so she thought. But to Queen Mary things weren't that simple.
Jane's fathernever seemed to desert her but washowever arrested. Jane's mother begged Queen Mary to pardon her husband but she never asked as much for her daughter. Jane did not appear to love her husband but she was compassionate. She was deeply upset and cried from her tower window as she watched him go to his execution. It's is unclear why she refused to see him in their last days, it is not known why. She did, however, write that she found him to be whiney and immature. Later in Guilford's own cell in the tower of London, the name "Jane" was found engraved in the stone.
Mary did not sentence Jane to the usual public execution but had it done privately with only a few people. I for one do not know who those people would have been but if the painting above is anywhere near true they seem to be quite mournfull and distraught over her early death.
Just before her execution, to the people round about she said this:

"Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, indeed, against the queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day"

The Executioner asked her forgiveness wich she gave willingly. She then said "I pray you dispatch me quickly" and blindfolded herself. She knelt down for the block and couldn't find it. "What shall I do? Where is it?' Jane cried, whereupon someone standing by guided her to the block where she laid her head down and said her last words. "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!"

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