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The Tudor Society
  • Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria (1538-1612)

    Jane Dormer became one of Queen Mary I’s foremost confidants during the 1550s. Born in 1538 at Eythrope, Buckinghamshire, she was the daughter of Sir William Dormer and Mary Sidney. Upon her mother’s death in 1542 she was brought up by her maternal grandparents. According to Jane’s biography, The Life of Jane Dormer, written by her secretary Henry Clifford) her upbringing shaped her academic career, as she ‘before seven years began to read the Primer or the office of our Blessed Lady, in Latin’. Evidently intelligent, the quote emphasises her traditional Catholic education with reference to the ‘blessed lady’. Her Catholicism, as shall be examined in this article, would later become symbolic of her identity. Similarly, her academic achievements in mastering languages were the result of her grandfather’s fluency, especially in Spanish; he served at the court of Charles V for a period.

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