Royal family: Queen’s desperate last moments executed after just 9 days


The story of Lady Jane Gray and her nine days as Queen of England is immortalized in the history books.

Gray was a cousin of Edward VI and a great-granddaughter of Henry VII. She was proclaimed Edward’s successor as he lay on his deathbed at the age of 15.

As the king had no apparent heir, he declared a 16-year-old Protestant “Lady Jane and her male heirs” as his successor, rather than her Catholic half-sister Mary Tudor, who would later become Queen Mary I.

It is firmly believed that Edward VI’s despised chief adviser, the Duke of Northumberland – who was also Jane’s stepfather – convinced the dying king to hand over the crown to him.

READ MORE: Why the women of the Tower of London used to stick pins in Henry VIII’s fly

Lady Jane Gray lived at the Tower of London after her accession to the throne, as was customary

On July 6, 1553, the young king died of tuberculosis, although rumors circulated that he had been poisoned by power-hungry Northumberland, and it was announced that Jane was the queen.

Lady Jane Gray made her home in the Tower of London, with her husband Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland, as was customary for a monarch to live there between their accession and their coronation.

As soon as Mary learned of Edward’s death, she traveled to East Anglia to begin rallying her Catholic supporters. At the same time, Northumberland left London to attempt to capture Mary.

Once news of Mary’s revolt reached London on July 19, the Privy Council proclaimed Mary Queen in London.

The same day, Jane was imprisoned in the apartments of the gentleman jailer of the tower.

John Feckenham offers the Queen of England Lady Jane Gray a pardon on his way to trial in 1554

The trials of Lady Jane Gray, Guilford Dudley, two of her brothers and the former Archbishop of Canterbury took place on November 13 at Guildhall. All the defendants were charged with high treason and sentenced to death.

On the morning of February 12, 1554, Dudley was taken from his cell in the Tower of London to the public execution space at Tower Hill where he was beheaded.

Her corpse was then put into a horse and cart and taken past the rooms where Jane was staying. She would have shouted, “Oh, Guildford, Guildford”.

Jane was then taken to Tower Green where she said, “Good people, I came here to die, and by law I am doomed to the same.

“The fact, indeed, against the highness of the queen was illegal, and the consent in this regard by me: but touching the obtaining and the desire of this one by me or on my behalf, I wash it. hands in all innocence before God, and face you good Christians today.

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The executioner then asked him for forgiveness. She granted him that and then said, “Please send me quickly.”

Then, referring to her head, she asked “Will you take it off before I go to bed?” “To which the executioner replied:” No ma’am. “

The ax has been raised, and some accounts vary as to what happened next. Some say it took a blow to chop off his head, while others say it took three blows of the ax.

As Jane was a Protestant in a now Catholic country, permission from Queen Mary was required to bury her. It would be four hours after his execution that it was received. It is also unknown what happened to Lady Jane Gray’s severed head.

The “Queen of the Nine Days” is buried at the Church of St Peter Ad Vincula in the Tower of London alongside Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard.

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