On her sweet sixteen,
Would she get ahead in life?
Poor girl. Lucky crows.
On this day, 465 years ago, Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed Queen of England. Unfortunately for her, she’s not known as the Nine Days’ Queen for nothing.
Her great uncle, Henry VIII, made the succession a bit of a muddle, what with all his ‘this marriage didn’t count’ nonsense. (Four times, dude! Maybe the problem is you.) Technically, by his own proclamations, daughters Mary and Elizabeth were bastards and son Edward was the only legitimate kid he had. But before he died, he put his girls back in the line of succession, which was only a formality, because Edward would have a long life and spawn lots of heirs, right? Right?
Fast forward six years. 15-year old King Edward VI is dying of pretty much everything and he knows it. He’s super Protestant, he wants England to keep being Protestant, and big sister Mary is Catholic and will roll back all the changes he’s made. THIS WILL NOT DO. He makes the questionably legal move of striking out his sisters and making cousin Jane his heir. Because Protestant.
Jane herself was incredibly well educated for her age and time, knowing at least five languages and reading Plato for fun. Her time living with former queen Catherine Parr led her to Protestantism. But Catherine died in childbirth, she returned to parents she didn’t much care for, and eventually married a boy she didn’t much care for.
Six weeks after the wedding, she’s told she’s queen. She reluctantly goes for it. (And refuses to make her husband king.)
Mary soon put a stop to all that nonsense and imprisoned everyone involved, and chopped off most of their heads. Jane was spared… Until Protestants started acting up and she wouldn’t switch teams.
When she died, she was the picture of composure until she was blindfolded and couldn’t find the block. The headman gently placed her head in the right place and she regained her cool. I wouldn’t have.