Last year in Euro we watched the movie Lady Jane, which was about the seriously tragic life of Lady Jane Grey, also known as The Nine Days Queen. To this day, she's neck and neck with Margaret Thatcher and Elizabeth I on my list of favorite women in England's history. She was the great-grandaughter of Henry VII, making her a cousin of Edward VI. Edward VI, while on his death bed at the age of 15 in June of 1553, named Jane (age 16) the successor to the throne of England, mainly because no one wanted the Protestant-hater Mary, Edward VI and Elizabeth I's half sister, to become queen. She was married to Lord Guildford Dudley, John Dudley's son who was Edward's chief minister. Jane was named Queen of England on July 10, 1553. The whole thing was a political scheme by John Dudley and Jane's parents. She ruled for nine days until the Privy Council had her imprisoned in the Tower of London. On July 19, 1553 the Privy Council named Mary I Queen of England. In November, Jane was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death.
Jane was a devoted Protestant and a serious humanist with a first-rate education. Albert Pollard called her "The traitor-heroine of the Reformation." Jane became viewed as a "Protestant martyr," especially after the many executions of Protestants by "Bloody Mary." A book I read, Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Allison Weir, explains in detail all of Jane's forward-thinking ideas, which is probably why I admire her so much.