Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey

A Tudor Mystery

Book - 2009
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Lady Jane Grey, is one of the most elusive and tragic characters in English history.

In July 1553 the death of the childless Edward VI threw the Tudor dynasty into crisis. On Edward's instructions his cousin Jane Grey was proclaimed queen, only to be ousted 13 days later by his illegitimate half sister Mary and later beheaded. In this radical reassessment, Eric Ives rejects traditional portraits of Jane both as hapless victim of political intrigue or Protestant martyr. Instead he presents her as an accomplished young woman with a fierce personal integrity. The result is a compelling dissection by a master historian and storyteller of one of history?s most shocking injustices.

Publisher: Chichester, West Sussex ; Malden, MA : Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
ISBN: 9781405194136
1405194138
Characteristics: p. cm.

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crankylibrarian Oct 20, 2010

A revisionist look at one of the least understood, often overlooked episodes in the tumultuous Tudor dynasty: the succession crisis of 1553 pitting Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's eldest daughter, against her 16 year old cousin Jane Grey. At Henry's death, he had reinstated his daughters Mary and Elizabeth into the succession,yet did not revoke their illegitimate status. The hope was that their younger half brother Edward, the only one of Henry's offspring whose legitimacy was never challenged, would produce enough heirs to solve the problem. Alas, when Edward contracted a fatal illness at age 16, crisis was inevitable. Edward's deathbed reworking of the succession to omit his bastard half-sisters in favor of his cousin Jane has long been viewed as a vile coup instigated by Jane's powerful father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland. Yet while Ives acknowledges Northumberland's role, he points out that law and custom were on his side. Inheritance rights were a serious matter, and to authorize the transfer of the crown to an acknowledged bastard would have set a dangerous precedent. Ives carefully outlines the reasoning behind Edward and Northumberland's actions, concluding that it was Mary, not Jane who was the true rebel, and that Jane's execution was nothing but a cynical judicial murder.

Although Ives spends a little too much time describing minute details of each piece of relevant correspondence, his analysis of Jane, Edward, Mary and Northumberland's characters and motivations is fascinating and convincing. Tudor-philes have long been convinced of the injustice of Jane's fate; Ives makes a good case for the injustice of Northumberland's as well.

An excellent companion to Leanda de Lisle's _The Sisters who would be Queen - the Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey_. De Lisle 's Jane is no innocent pawn, but a determined reformer keenly conscious of her role as a humanist icon to European Protestants.

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