The Nine Days’ Queen (2)

➡️ The Nine Days’ Queen (1)

After nine days of rule, Jane and her husband remained in the Tower, escorted from their royal apartments to prison quarters. Jane was confined in the Tower’s Gentleman Gaoler’s (Jailer’s) apartments, her husband in the Beauchamp Tower where he carved her name, which can still be seen.
While Suffolk, her father, was pardoned, Jane and Lord Guilford Dudley were put on trial. This took place on 13 November 1553, at Guildhall in the City of London where the two were led in procession from the Tower of London on foot.
She was dressed in black, a black cloth gown, black cape and a French hood trimmed with velvet, and in her hands she had a prayer book also bound in black velvet: the same simple apparel she would wear on the day of her execution.

This clothing was really sombre, different from the one she had had to wear on her arrival at the royal apartments, on 10 July 1553.. We don’t have portraits of this Child Queen but there is a detailed report of her appearance supposedly written by Battista Spinola, an Italian merchant from Genoa, who witnessed her procession to the Tower of London to be proclaimed Queen of England.
He wrote: “Jane is very short and thin, but prettily shaped and graceful. She has small features and a well-made nose, the mouth flexible and the lips red. The eyebrows are arched and darker than her hair, which is nearly red. Her eyes are sparkling and reddish brown in colour. I stood so near her grace that I noticed her colour was good but freckled. When she smiled she showed her teeth, which are white and sharp. In all a gracious and animated figure. She wore a dress of green velvet stamped with gold, with large sleeves. Her headdress was a white coif with many jewels….The new Queen was mounted on very high chopines (a sort of cork shoe) to make her look much taller, which were concealed by her robes, as she is very small and short.”

Anyway, she did not like rich and sumptuous clothing: her strict adherence to the reformed religion had given her an austere taste in dress.
According to an anecdote, one day Princess Mary presented her with a gift of ‘apparel of tinsel cloth of gold and velvet, laid on with parchment lace of gold’ but Jane rejected it since she thought it was inappropriate for a follower of God’s word.
This religious rigor may have been one of the causes of her unusual thinness, the result of a series of illnesses, both physical and emotional, and of psychosomatic disorders, not uncommon among religiously devout and ascetic young women.

Upon arrival at Guildhall, the prisoners were escorted to the Great Hall, where their trial was staged in a room full of spectators: a great number of Mary’s supporters had been appointed to oversee the proceedings.

Referred to by the court as ‘Jane Dudley, wife of Guildford’, she was charged with high treason, found guilty and sentenced to death.
Her guilt consisted in having treacherously assumed the title and the power of the monarch, evidenced by a number of documents she had signed as ‘Jane the Quene’.

Following their condemnation, Jane and Guildford were returned to the Tower, to wait for the Queen’s decision as to their fate.
In the beginning Mary seemed willing to show mercy, and it was commonly believed that Jane would not die. Even the Papal ambassador thought she was going to be spared: an opportune political move by Mary, using the life of her Protestant cousin against anti-Catholic uprisings.

However her father’s support for Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion in February 1554 sealed her destiny shattering all possibilities of a pardon. With no evidence that Jane was aware of the conspiracy, she became viewed as a threat to the Crown and “a possible figurehead for protestant discontent”, whose intent was to replace Mary.
The date of Jane’s execution was scheduled for 9 February but was then postponed for three days to give her a chance to convert to the Catholic faith.

The new dean of St Paul’s was sent to the Tower of London in an attempt to save her soul. He began a series of religious debates trying to convert her to Catholicism. Jane, long deprived of intellectual company and theological debate, was polite, but she rebutted each of his arguments with her own. Despite not giving in to his efforts, she became friends with him and accepted his offer to accompany her to the scaffold.

Her husband requested to meet her for the last time, bit she refused since it would be less painful to wait to see each other “shortly elsewhere, and live bound by indissoluble ties” .

On the morning of 12 February 1554, peering from her window,  Jane  saw her young husband’s decapitated body being brought back from the scaffold of execution.

… to be continued …

Image: The Last Moments of Lady Jane Grey by Hendrick Jacobus Scholten, Amsterdam, 19th century. Art UK (

47 thoughts on “The Nine Days’ Queen (2)

  1. Che fede e che strazio vedere il patibolo. Interessante il riferimento alle malattie psicosomatiche se troppo seguace. Consiglio di sentire il nuovo brano di Morandi (qui è la mia cultura protestante) per riprenderci dai pat…imenti!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Certo che come destino oserei ed epilogo della storia dire che è stato molto crudele, a quei tempi mica si scherzava, gli errori si pagavano con la vita. Oggi come oggi purtroppo rimane tutto troppo impunito, però anche all’epoca direi che forse erano un pochino troppo rigorosi. Gira che ti rigira non esiste e non è mai 3sistito un giusto equilibrio di giudizi e di sentenze. Buon pomeriggio cara sempre costruttivi i racconti che posti. Splendida 😘

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      1. Luisa, I would really like to read that post, but for whatever I click on the link it takes me to my blog to add a new post. When I only click on wordsmusicandst I get page now found.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What a pity, because the link works for me
        However, I am sending you the text of that post

        Verse 1

        My sweet lady Jane
        When I see you again
        Your servant am I
        And will humbly remain
        Just heed this plea, my love
        On bended knees my love
        I pledge myself to lady Jane

        Let’s suppose that Lady Jane refers to Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII, one of the few wives who were not executed, who died at the birth of their only son , who reigned as King Edward VI . But we should not forget it might also be a reference to Jane Ormsby-Gore, a British woman Mick Jagger was involved with, or to Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days in 1553, imprisoned and beheaded for treason by Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary), or to the nickname by which Lady Chatterley’s Lover called her genitalia.

        Jane Seymour had met the king because she had beeev a maid-of-honour to Queen Catherine, and then she had gone to serve Queen Anne. She was gentle, peaceful, compassionate, and showed deep sympathy for Queen Catherine’s daughter, Lady Mary. She was not beautiful, not very tall, and very pale, and the first report of Henry VIII’s interest in her (February 1536) was when she was noted to be pale and blonde, the opposite of Anne Boleyn’s dark hair and olive skin. She was a simple and chaste woman, with a large family, which made her a suitable candidate to give birth to several children. In 1537 she gave birth to a son who became Edward VI of England: the labour was difficult, and lasted two days and three nights, probably because the baby was not well positioned. She died twelve days later of infection resulting from the birth.

        Here her lover, Henry VIII, seems to be assuring her that once Anne Boleyn is dead, he will marry her

        Verse 2

        My dear Lady Anne
        I’ve done what I can
        I must take my leave
        For promised I am
        This play is run my love
        Your time has come my love
        I’ve pledged my troth to Lady Jane

        In this verse the narrator is talking to Anne. In 1525, Henry VIII fell in love with Anne Boleyn and began his pursuit of her. At first, she resisted the King’s attempts to seduce her and refused to become his mistress, as her sister, Mary Boleyn, had already done.

        When they finally got married, she failed to produce a male heir; and when he started to court Jane Seymour in March 1536, he orchestrated Anne’s arrest for high treason. She was tried, found guilty, and beheaded on 19 May. The next day Henry and Jane became engaged and only ten days later they were married.

        When Jane died, Henry wore black for three months and did not remarry for three years. He put on weight, became very fat and developed diabetes and gout. Historians have speculated she was his favourite wife because she gave birth to a male heir. When he died in 1547, Henry was buried beside her, on his request, in the grave he had made for her.

        Here Henry is telling Anne her time is up, she has been unable to give him a son and now he wants to marry his true love, Jane.

        Verse 3

        Oh my sweet Marie
        I wait at your ease
        The sands have run out
        For your lady and me
        Wedlock is nigh my love
        Her station’s right my love
        Life is secure with Lady Jane

        In the last verse the man is hinting at the end of the previous relationship and assuring that life is secure with Lady Jane. Marie could be one of Anne’s ladies in waiting, or a
        reference to Henry’s daughter, Mary, while her lady may be her mother, Catherine of Aragon. “Life is secure with Lady Jane” may refer to the fact that Jane was a good stepmother to Mary.

        Alternatively, if Lady Jane refers to Jane Grey, “Mary” may be another queen, Marie Antoinette, beheaded like Lady Anne and Lady Jane

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks, Luisa. You have done your usual masterful job of historical research with very plausible conclusions. I like this much better than the Wikipedia interpretation of female genitalia. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pedina nello scacchiere la piccola regina. Adesso si direbbe un “danno collaterale”. È bello e interessante trovarne da te le vicende, tra storia e romanticismo e anche gusto di cronaca rinascimentale. Grazie 🥰😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie a te per questo splendido apprezzamento
      La povera Jane, di cui non resta neppure un ritratto fatto durante la sua breve vita, è stata usata per motivi religiosi e da famiglia, e suoceri per ottenere più potere

      Liked by 1 person

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