A Picture of Innocence: Lady Jane Grey and Her Sisters

Posted By on May 11, 2010

Just a quick post to let those of you who are in London on Thursday know that one of my favourite historians, Leanda de Lisle, is giving a free lecture entitled “A Picture of Innocence: Lady Jane Grey and Her Sisters” at the National Portrait Gallery this Thursday (13th) at 1.15pm in the Ondaatje Wing Theatre.

In this talk, Leanda, author of “The Sisters Who Would be Queen”, will go behind the legend of the Nine Days Queen, Lady Jane Grey, revealing a history of religious propaganda, sadomasochism, sexual prejudice and forgotten tragedy. Please do make the effort to go if you’re near the NPG as it sounds like an excellent talk.

11 thoughts on “A Picture of Innocence: Lady Jane Grey and Her Sisters”

  1. Nancy says:

    I’m so glad that you put this on the website! I’ll be arriving in London on Thursday morning at 9:45 am and can’t get my train to Shrewsbury until 4:30 pm. I’m going to leave my suitcase at the Tower Hotel in London where I usually stay and just take my backpack to Shrewsbury, but after I do that I’ll have a few hours to kill anyway. I was going to go to the National Gallery to see the Delaroche exhibit anyway, and since the National Portrait Gallery is right behind the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square so it’ll be very convenient.

  2. julie b says:

    I am fascinated by Lady Jane Grey myself…but I feel I have a wrong illusion of her and her life. I have my vision of her from the movie “Lady Jane” from 1986, which I had heard is not a true explanation of her life. I loved the romance of Guilford Dudleyl and herself, but I had heard that they never really spent any time together at all.
    She is a fascinating person as far as I am concerned, poor little lady!

  3. Cranky says:

    I loved her book about the Grey sisters. I purchased it in hardcover and it was worth every penny! It’s a serious history book but is so engrossing and well-written and is so enjoyable to read.

  4. xena says:

    Is this the painting of lady Jane.Did the women work hard at looking strange. Or was there something in the diet. She looks like a man in 16TH century drag. I am sure she was not pleased with this portrait.I wouldn’t.(o)

  5. Carolyn says:

    I think it was more a lack of talent in English artists. Some of them are horribly done. It explains why Holbein was so popular!

  6. joan charles says:

    I AM BACK AGAIN, I DON’T KNOW WHO LADY JANE GREY IS, DOES SHE HAVE A CONNECTION WITH ANNE BOLEYN?? I AM LEARNING QUITE A LOT OF ENGLISH HISTORY, FROM THESE REMARKABLE FILES….ALSO,DID SAMUEL PEPY’S HAVE ANY CONNECTION WITH ANNE GWEYN?? WAS SHE A MISTRESS OG KING CHARLES THE SECOND?? PEOPLE LIVING IN LONDON ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE ACCESS TO THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY.. LIVING IN AUSTRALIA IS A LONG HOP OVER THE OCEAN.. CHEERS , AND THANKS AGAIN..

  7. Carolyn says:

    Joan, Lady Jane Grey was the granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister. So, not so much a connection with Anne as much as Henry. Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI, named Jane as his heir instead of either of his half-sisters, Mary (by Katharine of Aragon) or Elizabeth (by Anne Boleyn). This went against his father’s will, which Edward wasn’t old enough to legally overturn. Mary raised troops, the people supported her and she took the throne and later had Lady Jane Grey and her husband executed.

  8. HollyDolly says:

    Wish I could attend.I’ll lave to look for Ms.deLisle’s book online.
    While know something about Jane, I really know very little about her sisters.Would love to go someday and look at all the protraits at the National Portrait Gallery

  9. Kay Pickett says:

    The 3 sisters, Jane, Katherine and Mary, led a very tragic life, and all died very (too) young. The book by Philippa Gregory, “The Last of the Tudors” makes history of this time, very readable. One wonders what public opinion would think, if someone in line for the throne today, married for love which displeased the monarch who had their lives and their children taken away. It makes both Mary and Elizabeth absolute monsters – like their dreadful father too! The 3 Grey sisters give the impression of being normal human beings with a love of life. Jane Grey did not really want to be queen anyway, which makes her case all the saddeer.

    1. Banditqueen says:

      Excuse me but you really need to learn some proper history and not Philippa Gregory whose books are terrible and inaccurate.

      Neither Mary or Elizabeth were monsters. Jane and her family were actually spared by Mary until six months later her father rebelled a second time and as Jane had been found guilty of treason by a trial, she was already condemned. Mary was reluctant to execute her but another plot that threatened her life forced her to listen to her Council and execute Jane as a traitor. It was tragic but necessary. Mary was reluctant to execute most people, including those involved with Wyatt, apart from the leaders. As for the treatment of Katharine Grey, yes it was harsh but it was her own fault. We don’t live in the 16th century and its not treason to marry without the Monarchs permission but it was then.

      Katharine and her husband were both in line for the crown and many saw Katharine Grey as the real heir after Elizabeth. Elizabeth had almost died just months earlier without any heir and Katherine was her close relative. She had an obligation to ask permission to marry. Yes, I agree what Elizabeth did was cruel, but it didn’t stop Katharine having two sons. Her marriage was also declared null and void but it obviously was a lawful marriage. It was when Katharine was ill that she was kept from her husband and died of a broken heart. That was also cruel. However, you have to understand that Elizabeth was the Queen and this was a threat to her. That’s why she acted as she did. Her treatment of Mary Grey was even more cruel because she married a nobody who died in jail. However, Mary herself was treated fairly and even her funeral was grand. Elizabeth could be extremely cruel and extremely kind. She floated between the two as her father had. I don’t believe acts of necessity by a King or Queen against people who threatened their lives and crown necessarily make them monsters.

      There are a number of authors I want to recommend that you read as well as the original sources.

      Leanda de Lisle on the three Grey sisters and Linda Porter and Anne Whitehead on Mary I. I would recommend Susan Doran on Elizabeth I.

      Historical fiction is fine for light reading and entertainment and getting people interested in history but it is often riddled with errors and dramatic licence.

  10. Banditqueen says:

    Excuse me but you really need to learn some proper history and not Philippa Gregory whose books are terrible and inaccurate.

    Neither Mary or Elizabeth were monsters. Jane and her family were actually spared by Mary until six months later her father rebelled a second time and as Jane had been found guilty of treason by a trial, she was already condemned. Mary was reluctant to execute her but another plot that threatened her life forced her to listen to her Council and execute Jane as a traitor. It was tragic but necessary. Mary was reluctant to execute most people, including those involved with Wyatt, apart from the leaders. As for the treatment of Katharine Grey, yes it was harsh but it was her own fault. We don’t live in the 16th century and its not treason to marry without the Monarchs permission but it was then.

    Katharine and her husband were both in line for the crown and many saw Katharine Grey as the real heir after Elizabeth. Elizabeth had almost died just months earlier without any heir and Katherine was her close relative. She had an obligation to ask permission to marry. Yes, I agree what Elizabeth did was cruel, but it didn’t stop Katharine having two sons. Her marriage was also declared null and void but it obviously was a lawful marriage. It was when Katharine was ill that she was kept from her husband and died of a broken heart. That was also cruel. However, you have to understand that Elizabeth was the Queen and this was a threat to her. That’s why she acted as she did. Her treatment of Mary Grey was even more cruel because she married a nobody who died in jail. However, Mary herself was treated fairly and even her funeral was grand. Elizabeth could be extremely cruel and extremely kind. She floated between the two as her father had. I don’t believe acts of necessity by a King or Queen against people who threatened their lives and crown necessarily make them monsters.

    There are a number of authors I want to recommend that you read as well as the original sources.

    Leanda de Lisle on the three Grey sisters and Linda Porter and Anne Whitehead on Mary I. I would recommend Susan Doran on Elizabeth I. I would recommend Eric Ives on Jane Grey.

    Historical fiction is fine for light reading and entertainment and getting people interested in history but it is often riddled with errors and dramatic licence.

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