Grey, Jane 1537–1554 Queen of England
Queen of England
Areluctant queen, Jane Grey ruled England for nine days when she was 15 years of age. As a Protestant with some claim to the throne, she had been pushed forward as the successor to Edward VI. The king's Protestant advisers feared that if the crown passed to his sister Mary, a devout Catholic and the rightful heir, England would become Catholic again.
Jane did not come to the throne completely unprepared. She was related to Henry VIII and had spent two years in the household of Katherine Parr, Henry's widow. When she returned home in 1549, she received a humanist* education, one of the few women of her generation to do so. Jane knew several languages and impressed people with her skills.
In 1553 John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland and the chief adviser to Edward VI, arranged a marriage between Jane and his son Guildford. The duke also persuaded the king to name Jane rather than Mary as his successor. Jane became queen in July 1553, when Edward died. But Mary soon unseated Jane, with wide support from the people, and took the throne as Mary I. She had Jane and her husband imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed as traitors.
(See alsoEngland. )
- * humanist
referring to a Renaissance cultural movement promoting the study of the humanities (the languages, literature, and history of ancient Greece and Rome) as a guide to living