Wednesday 11 July 2007

The Nine Days' Queen

On this day in 1553 Lady Jane Grey, the grand-niece of King Henry VIII, was proclaimed Queen of England and started her tragic 9 day reign. Seven months later the sixteeen-year old ascended the scaffold at Tower green to be executed, declaring:

"Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, indeed, against the queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day"

Young, beautiful and learned Jane, intent
On knowledge, fount it peace; her vast acquirement
Of goodness was her fall; she was content
With dulcet pleasures, such as calm retirement
Yields to the wise alone; -- her only vice
Was virtue: in obedience to her sire
And lord she died, with them a sacrifice
To their ambition: her own mild desire
Was rather to be happy than be great;
For though at their request, she claimed the crown,
That they through her might rise to rule the state,
Yet the bright diadem and gorgeous throne
She viewed as cares, dimming the dignity
Of her unsullied mind and pur benignity.

William Hone (1780 -1842)
Lady Jane Grey


Anonymous said...

Catholics are certainly glad this upstart never got to reign. She was, by all accounts, a Puritan, and would have continued the anti-Catholic pogroms of Edward VI. I also doubt she was all that naive regarding her actions- she was 16 YEARS OLD!

Anonymous said...

Lady Jane is a fascinating character and very much the innocent victime of political and anti-Catholic plotters. Certainly the Duke of Northumberland, who intended her to be his puppet, would have hoped to carry on his persecution of Catholics under her, but during her brief reign Jane was already showing signs of standing up to him and his faction.