The Tudor Society
  • November 19 – Lord John Grey, a man who escaped execution

    On this day in Tudor history, 19th November 1564, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Lord John Grey died.

    He’s not the Lord John Grey of the wonderful Outlander series, but he is just as interesting.

    Lord John Grey was the youngest son of Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset, and in Queen Mary I’s reign, he was involved in a rebellion with his brothers, Lord Thomas Grey and Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk. Henry and Thomas were executed, but John wasn’t.

    How did Lord John Grey escape execution? And why did he get into trouble again in Elizabeth I’s reign?

    Let me tell you all about Lord John Grey…

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  • Margaret Clifford, Countess of Derby

    A recent BBC Four documentary examined the tragic life of England’s Forgotten Queen, Lady Jane Grey, who was proclaimed queen in July 1553 and beheaded seven months later for unlawfully usurping the throne from Mary I. The circumstances in which Jane succeeded her cousin Edward VI derived in part from Henry VIII’s Acts of Succession (1536 and 1544) and his last will and testament, which was finalised a month before his death. After stipulating that his crown should pass to Edward, Henry intended that his daughters Mary and Elizabeth would successively reign in the event of Edward dying childless. Henry also instructed that the descendants of his younger sister Mary should inherit the throne if all three of his children died without heirs: thus Mary’s daughters Frances and Eleanor and their offspring. Lady Jane Grey was, of course, the eldest daughter of Frances. Her two sisters Katherine and Mary would represent a rival succession in Elizabeth I’s reign, and the Tudor queen imprisoned both women on account of what she perceived as their dynastic pretensions. As a result of his Acts and his will, Henry made it possible for the monarch to appoint their successor based on personal preferences. Edward took this one step further in 1553 by disregarding the claims of his half-sisters Mary and Elizabeth, and instead nominating the Grey line.

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