Friday, February 12, 2010

Today In History, Jane Grey looses Her Head

456 years ago on February 12th 1554 Jane Grey the nine days queen was beheaded by her own cousin Queen Mary Tudor. The hardest part for me to accept is that this poor girl did not even want the crown. She was a pawn in other peoples ambitious scams of taking controlling of the crown. Mostly her parents and her father in law, sadly her nasty mother did not even try to plead for her daughters life. Her husband Guilford Dudley was also executed in public earlier that day and her father was executed a week after Jane. I found this picture and it is stated that it is Jane Grey but in the caption it also say Jeane.

"Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, indeed, against the Queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day."

The image on the left is one of Guilford Dudley

"She pleaded the axeman, "I pray you dispatch me quickly". Referring to her head, she asked, "Will you take it off before I lay me down?" and the axeman answered, "No, madam". She then blindfolded herself. Jane had resolved to go to her death with dignity, but once blindfolded, failing to find the block with her hands, began to panic and cried, "What shall I do? Where is it?" An unknown hand, possibly Feckenham's, then helped her find her way and retain her dignity at the end. With her head on the block, Jane spoke the last words of Jesus as recounted by Luke: "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!" She was then beheaded."

The "Jane" inscription in the Beauchamp Tower in the Tower of London

I had never noticed until just now that there is a woman throwing herself towards the wall like she just can not take it to watch Jane die. More than likely it is Jane's long time nurse who loved her like her own child.


  1. I too have always been very sympathetic to Jane's fate. She was very much a pawn and I think her death was all the more tragic for it. I think that painting of her execution is absolutely breathtaking...the utter sorrow is palpable. Great post Lizzy!

  2. I thought her mother was particularly nasty in Alison Weir's novel Innocent Traitor. Have you read it?

  3. This is such a sad chapter in English history. This young girl was used by everyone. A very good book on her short life is NINE DAYS A QUEEN by Ann Rinaldi. This is a book for middle to high school aged children, but still a good read. A good way to introduce this part of history to the younger generation.
    You have to admire the way one so young comported herself in such a horrible situation.

  4. Michelle, it is a beautiful piece it really shows the emotions that were running high at the time of the execution. The details is what makes it so powerful, the hair, glowing Jane, the dropping bodies all came together very well for this piece. I have wondered how big it is, I picture it giant.

    Arleigh, I did read it and in fact I actually found a copy at goodwill and went back to get it. I ended up meeting this very nice lady in the book section and when we started chatting I ended up giving it to her. Snagged another HF reader. Her mother was cruel and just flat out devious. I did love it and my husband bought it for me for a X mas surprise which I am so glad he did because I loved it.

    Libary Pat, I have actually looked at Rinaldi's book on Jane. I did a post awhile ago on her Elizabeth book "The Red Headed Princess". I have to agree that her books are the best for inspiring young reader to love historical fiction. I have recommended her novels to friends of mine who have older children and they really enjoyed her.

    I do admire her courage, standing firm and never wavering must have been hard for someone so young. I could not imagine what she went though: it would have made any person collapse with grief but she did not, a brave soul that is worthy today of recognition.

    This was one of my favorite posts.

  5. I looooved reading Innocent Traitor. I picked it up from the library last summer while I was looking for something entirely different. :)

  6. Rosemary, I love it when that happens it is like fate that it found you. I was pleased when it just showed up for me too.


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