nine days queen of england

Red/Golden Haired Tudor Ladies: 6/10

Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England (for nine days)

Jane has become a bit of an enigma in history, mostly due to her extremely short reign and subsequent execution being her claim to fame. It is apparent that Jane was quite precocious. In 1550 Roger Ascham, a respected scholar and tutor to Elizabeth I, met Jane as she was reading Plato in Greek. Ascham said she read with “with such understanding as to win my highest admiration.” She was an accomplished scholar and far preferred books to hunting, dancing, or other courtly pastimes. Jane only became queen thanks to a document drawn up by her cousin Edward VI as he was on his death bed. As Edward was a fierce Protestant, he was fearful of his Catholic sister Mary taking the throne. His “devise for the succession” named the Protestant Jane and her sons as his successors. Edward might have done this under the influence of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, who strategically married his Guildford son to Jane. When Jane was proclaimed queen it was believed that her husband would be named king, but Jane declared that she would make him a duke but not king. I believe this says something of her willfulness. It is well known how swift Jane’s fall was. She was executed between the ages of 16 or 17, so we can only guess at what kind of queen she may have made.

Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Princess Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII, and was therefore a great-granddaughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Her mother Frances was Princess Mary’s eldest daughter. There are several portraits that are said to be of Jane, but none that are completely certain. The most likely shows her with red-brown hair and fair skin. One supposed description claims she had “small features and a well shaped nose, the mouth flexible and the lips red; The eyebrows are arched and and darker than her hair which is nearly red.” If this account is true, then Jane did posses a touch of the Tudor look.