‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ is the installation created for the Tower of London in honor of Remembrance Day tomorrow. Tons of ceramic poppies were placed for remembrance creating an awe inspiring view in London.
On this day in 1554, the ‘nine day queen’ - Lady Jane Grey - was beheaded at the Tower of London. Grey was born to noble lineage, as her great-grandfather was King Henry VII, and by aged ten secured a place at the court of Henry VIII’s wife Katherine Parr. In 1553, she married the son of the Duke of Northumberland, who was serving as regent for the young and ailing King Edward VI. The Protestant Northumberland feared the throne falling to Edward’s Catholic heir, Mary Tudor, and arranged marriages that allowed the crown to pass to the pious Protestant Jane upon Edward’s death. However, Mary did not take this slight lightly. Mary gathered her legions of followers, and support for Jane quickly fell in the face of the fearsome Mary - often referred to as 'Bloody Mary’. Either way, this was the first time England was faced with the prospect of a queen as sole ruler of the nation. Jane was never crowned and only reigned as Queen for nine days before she agreed to relinquish the throne and was imprisoned in the Tower of London by the then-Queen Mary. She pleaded guilty to the charges of high treason bought against her, and after her father supported a rebellion against Mary led by Thomas Wyatt, Grey and her family were executed. Her husband was executed first, and Grey watched from her window as he was beheaded, before heading to the scaffold herself; her father was executed eleven days after her. Grey, despite being only sixteen or seventeen years old, faced her imminent death with courage and dignity, refusing to convert to Mary’s Catholicism even if it meant her life. Queen Mary ruled with an iron fist, persecuting Protestant dissenters, until her death in 1558, when she was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth I.
“Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life…As the preacher sayeth, there is a time to be born and a time to die; and the day of death is better than the day of our birth” - Lady Jane Grey in a letter soon before her execution