Lady Jane Grey, or Queen Jane, regularly gets missed off lists of monarchs of England, but I haven’t missed her out in my 60-second history video series!

As I’ve explained before, the idea of this series is to give information about Tudor history in easy-to-digest 60-second chunks. Die-hard Tudor history fans don’t, of course, need these videos, but I hope they act as introductions to newbies or students.

My first four videos were on the Tudor dynasty, Henry VII, Henry VIII and Edward VI. You can catch them on the 60 Second History playlist of the Anne Boleyn Files YouTube channel.

Here’s the latest one!

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One thought on “60 second history – Lady Jane Grey, Queen Jane”
  1. Should Jane Grey be included in the list of Tudor Queens, even if you view her as a usurper? Yes, in the true spirit of a Tudor as they are originally usurpers anyway. The same can be said by almost all of the Plantagenets between 1400 and 1483. You can legally usurp a crown or be offered the crown as the previous monarch is considered illegitimate. However, you may be in the wrong as the previous monarch may not have lawfully been illegitimate. What if you, like Jane are considered the right monarch because of the intentions of your predecessor, but you cannot legally be as your Queenship has not been established in Parliament, as,with Jane? What if you were made legally illegitimate, but a higher power alone has the only lawful and legitimate power to rule on this, as with Mary? In any event you are the lawfully begotten daughter of Henry Viii and Katherine of Aragon and you have been legally declared the next heir, so tough this young upstart is not taking my throne. Thus Mary believed, rallied her troops and the Council did its duty and Mary won the day. Henry Tudor had originally stolen the crown by battle…a legitimate way to gain the kingdom but he needed Parliament and a coronation to be there permanently. Edward V was at first declared King, but later his legitimacy was shown to be dogdy, so he was legally set aside for Richard iii by the church, commons and a represented Parliament. Richard was eventually crowned and a formal Parliament declared him the legitimate King. However, Edward V had been recognised as King for a significant amount of time before it came to light about his parents bigamous marriage. He was also in this instance recognised by Richard as being King up to this point on 22nd June but to have ruled from 9th April 1483. This is why he is recognised as King, despite not being crowned. His legitimacy was not published before this date so it was not officially questioned. Mary Tudor had always maintained her own legitimacy and didn’t say that Jane was illegitimate, just not next in line for the throne. We also recognised Edward Viii who abdicated before his coronation. His legitimacy is not in question. He stepped down on his own authority but he had been recognised as King in Parliament and in public. There was never a question that he should succeed and you technically become a monarch on the death of your father if your the legitimate heir. A coronation is to make it permanently official before God and the nation. Before a coronation, however, traditionally a monarch could still be challenged. At the coronation the gathered people and lords are also asked to give their consent. Various oaths are taken, he or she is crowned and hey presto done. Jane was not next in line, she was not the daughter of a King, not confirmed by consent or Parliament and was not crowned, plus she was certainly challenged by a King’s daughter, who was popular and believed in her own destiny and a legitimate claim by birth and that her parents marriage was declared lawful by Rome. Thus Mary points to a higher power. This all went in Marys favour and she never acknowledged Jane’s right as Queen or the fact of it. So Jane has become an inconvenient fact. She was declared as a falsely styled queen and Mary redacted everything through Parliament to reverse any signs of anything which declared her in any way illegitimate. Mary of course went on to her own sanctification by a coronation. However, as historians we are not interested in the inconvenience of historical opinion. If we did we would say that Henry Viii had three legal wives not six. So why list only five official Tudor monarchs? Perhaps its only recent scholarship which has questioned this. In Ancient Egypt the King lists don’t include the Armarna Kings, Akenahten or King Tut, as they were removed by Rameses the Great so they were redacting Kings for thousands of years. In the Great Schism we had more than one Pope with certain unrecognized Popes being called Anti as they are inconvenient. Jane was clearly inconvenient and has never considered a real Queen. I doubt that will ever change any more than James ii son and rightful heir, excluded from the throne by his Catholic faith and William iii, will be recognised officially by historians or Parliament as James iii, even if his supporters and people abroad did. I was on holiday in Italy several years ago when the tour guide suddenly referred to James viii and iii of Scotland and England. Some knowitall rudely contradicted the poor woman somewhat aggressively and I explained to her afterwards, in the cafe, that in England he is not recognised and apologise for the know it all. Italy supported the Old Pretender and Bonnie Prince Charlie spent several years and was born and baptised there, but Queen Mary, Queen Anne and the Hanoverians replaced thr legitimate Stuart male succession. Jane may not fit any of these boxes but she did become Queen, inconveniently or not. She was
    willed as Queen by an anointed King, declared by proclamation, backed by the judges and council and she was also declared in Letters Patent which begins a legal process which is made permanent in Parliament. However, she wasn’t confirmed in Parliament or by a number of representatives of Parliament. Edward died before the legal process was completed and Jane wasn’t in long enough to do this herself. She did, however, issue her own letters Patent, issue proclamations and orders under the royal seal, ordered troops into battle, refused to accept her husband as King and called Mary a traitor. She signed dozens of documents as Queen. Had Mary not suddenly risen and then won support, Jane would have been now accepted as Jane I. Would we now have a line of Greys or Dudleys, not the Tudors? Well yes and Mary and Elizabeth may have had to go abroad or been executed. The implications are interesting. So, yes, we definitely should consider Jane as Queen, regardless of whether or not she was a usurper, innocent victim or legitimate heir. Jane may never officially be counted in the list of monarchy but we can give her that recognition as history lovers seeking answers and truth.

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