Another look at…19th July 1553


July 19th was the 461st anniversary of the end of Queen Jane’s reign.


20140212_113054


In November last year, Dr Stephan Edwards announced on his website, Some Grey Matter, his discovery of two letters that mention Jane. Edwards writes that, ‘To my knowledge, neither of these letters has ever been published in English, and no historian writing on the subject of Jane Grey or the succession dispute of 1553 has ever cited them. They are presented here for what I believe is the first time in the modern era.’ (1)

The letters appear in the third volume of ‘Lettere di Principi’ a series of ‘a collection of letters to, from, or about a wide variety of early-sixteenth-century European rulers, noblemen, and princes of the Roman Catholic Church’ (2), which was published, in 1577 by Giordano Ziletti. According to Edwards, the author and recipient of the letters are unknown but he thinks that they were written by a member of the Venetian diplomatic embassy.

I thought that it would be a good time to look at what, if anything these new letters add to our knowledge of Jane at the Tower of London on the day her reign ended.

I have used sources that are available to me, so if I have missed any, please let me know.

This is the translation of a section of the first letter, dated or written on 24th July 1553.

‘The Duke of Suffolk made the same proclamation in the Tower unrestrained, [and] being commanded to come out without arms, to go to the house of the Lord Treasurer, he was obedient. Jane, Guildford, the Duchess of Northumberland, and a few others remained in custody in the Tower. When Jane was told by her father that she was no longer Queen, she responded, “This report is convenient to me, more than the other that you gave me before saying that it was agreed for me to become Queen, being, as I said to you at that time, undeserving and insufficient for that”.’ (3)

This letter tells us the following about Jane at the Tower.

• That the Duke of Suffolk told his daughter she was no longer Queen.
• Jane’s response to the news.
• That Jane, her husband and mother-in-law were left in the Tower.

Eric Ives writes that ‘unusually for a Tudor event, the one certainty is the timing and the circumstances of the ending of Jane Grey’s reign.’ (4) Contemporary accounts report how members of the Privy Council left the Tower of London and proclaimed Mary, Queen on July 19th. Although as Ives comments, few of these sources ‘even bother to mention’ Jane. (5)

The Grey Friars Chronicle, A London Chronicle by John Stow, The Wriothesley Chronicle, The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, the diarist Henry Machyn, and an anonymous report included in the Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553, do not feature Jane in their description of the events of this day. Jane’s letter to Mary (written in August 1553) does not include the end of her reign.

However, unlike the public arrival of Queen Jane at the Tower of London on 10th July, the writers of these sources would not have been in a position to witness Jane’s reaction to the end of her reign and might not have had access to those who had this information.

The author of this new letter writes that ‘Jane was told by her father that she was no longer Queen…’ (6) The two other reports that mention Jane on 19th July, agree with this. The Spanish Ambassadors wrote the following to the Emperor Charles V on 22nd July.

‘We have been assured that when the Duke of Suffolk heard that the Council had decided to confirm Queen Mary in her right, he went to the Lady Jane, who was at supper, and tore down the canopy, saying no more than that it was not for her to use it, for her position permitted her not to do so.’ (7)

De Lisle writes that ‘According to Commendone, Jane did not lose her composure as her father delivered his grim news.’ (8) Giovanni Francesco Commendone (‘a papal secretary sent by Julius III’) (9) in his 1554 account of ‘Events of the Kingdom of England,’ wrote that:

‘But before leaving, he entered the room where his daughter was sitting in state, and removing the balachin from over her head, as clear demonstration of what had to follow, he told her to do homage to my Lady Mary as to her Queen, as she had been already proclaimed, and that this place did no longer belong to her, having to submit fortune as changeable and envious of its own gifts.’ (10)

This new letter also includes Jane’s alleged reaction to the news that her reign had ended.

When Jane was told by her father that she was no longer Queen, she responded, ‘This report is convenient to me, more than the other that you gave me before saying that it was agreed for me to become Queen, being, as I said to you at that time, undeserving and insufficient for that.’ (11)

This again supports the response reported by the Spanish Ambassadors to Charles V.

‘When the Lady Jane heard of the Council’s determination, she replied that she would give it (i.e. the royal dignity) up as gladly as she had accepted it; she knew that the right belonged to Queen Mary, and the part she had played had been prepared for her without her knowledge.’ (12)

Commendone has her saying:

‘And she answered him that these words were much more convenient than those he had told her not long before, when he persuaded and advised her to accept the crown and that many men would be deemed to be wise if their shrewdness could not be judged by the results, but the test which ensues from it, shows their hand and disabuses people.’ (13) P.19

Various accounts report that Jane, Guildford and his mother remained in the Tower of London. The writer of this letter states that:

‘The Duke of Suffolk made the same proclamation in the Tower unrestrained, [and] being commanded to come out without arms, to go to the house of the Lord Treasurer, he was obedient. Jane, Guildford, the Duchess of Northumberland, and a few others remained in custody in the Tower.’ (14)

The report of 20th July, ‘Advices from England’ (the unknown author wrote that, ‘I was yesterday at the (Imperial) ambassadors’) (15) says,

‘The other Queen has renounced all her honours, and has been shut up in the Tower with her husband and the Duke’s wife, though all the rest are outside.’ (16)

In their dispatch to the Emperor on 22nd July, The Spanish Ambassadors wrote:

The Duchess of Northumberland, Guilford, her son, and the Lady Jane of Suffolk are detained in the Tower as prisoners, and receive sour treatment, somewhat different from that meted out to them during their eight days’ reign.’ (17)

The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary, states that the Duke of Suffolk left the Tower after proclaiming Mary, Queen.

‘The duke of Suffolk being at the Towere at the making of the proclamation, and as some saye did not knowe of it, but as soone as he herd of it, he came himselfe out of the Towere, and comaunded his mean to leave their wepones behind them, sayenge that hee him selfe was but one man, and himselfe proclaimed my lady Maryes grace queene on the Towere hille, and so came into London, levinge the leiftenaunt in the Towere.’ (18)

Edwards’ newly discovered letter (dated or written on 24th July 1553) gives us another account of Queen Jane on the day her reign ended. It supports other reports that the Duke of Suffolk told his daughter that she was no longer Queen. It also gives a similar version to other accounts of Jane’s reply and that Jane, her husband Guildford and her mother-in-law, the Duchess of Northumberland were left in the Tower.

The fact that the writer had access to a report of what happened in the Tower by the 24th, shows how quickly this version of events was in circulation. The anonymous report ‘Advices from England’ which was written on the 20th has details of how Jane and the others were left in the Tower, as do the Spanish Ambassadors on the 22nd. This letter supports the earlier report by the Spanish Ambassadors (dated 22 July) and the later one by Commendone about what Jane is supposed to have said to her father in response to the news that her reign had ended. According to Ives, Commendone arrived in London on 8 August and was back in Rome by 8 September.’ (19)

Jane’s response lays the blame on others, who persuaded her to accept a crown that she had not wanted. Leanda de Lisle has questioned the truth behind the version of events given elsewhere in this letter about Jane and her mother opposing Jane’s marriage to Guildford. Jane’s words could also be part of a ‘stratagem to get a pardon.’ (20)



Sources


1. Edwards, S.< a href= http://www.somegreymatter.com/lettereintro.htm>Some Grey Matter – Lettere di Principi, le quali si scrivono o da principi, o ragionano di principi. Libro Terzo – An Introduction to this Source Date accessed: 16 July 2014

2. ibid

3. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

4. Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell, p.214

5. Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell, p.215

6. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

7. ‘Spain: July 1553, 21-31′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 109-127. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88486 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

8. De Lisle, L. (2010) The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, HarperPress, p.123

9. Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell, p.29.

10. Malfatti, C.V (translator) (1956), The Accession Coronation and Marriage of Mary Tudor as related in four manuscripts of the Escorial, Barcelona, p.19

11. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

12. ‘Spain: July 1553, 21-31′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 109-127. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88486 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

13. Malfatti, C.V (translator) (1956), The Accession Coronation and Marriage of Mary Tudor as related in four manuscripts of the Escorial, Barcelona, p.19

14. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

15. Spain: July 1553, 16-20′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 90-109. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88485 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

16. ibid

17. ‘Spain: July 1553, 21-31′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 109-127. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88486 Date accessed: 16 July 2014

18. Nichols, J. G (ed) (1850) The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary and Especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt, Written by a Resident in the Tower of London, Llanerch Publishers, p.12

19. Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell, p.29

20. De Lisle, L. http://blog.leandadelisle.com/post/67943904298/this-is-a-good-close-up-of-frances-brandon-mother Date accessed: 27 May 2014


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Another look at…10th July 1553


Today is the 461st anniversary of Queen Jane’s arrival at the Tower of London.


Tower by boat


In November last year, Dr Stephan Edwards announced on his website, Some Grey Matter, his discovery of two letters that mention Jane. Edwards writes that, ‘To my knowledge, neither of these letters has ever been published in English, and no historian writing on the subject of Jane Grey or the succession dispute of 1553 has ever cited them. They are presented here for what I believe is the first time in the modern era.’ (1)

The letters appear in the third volume of ‘Lettere di Principi’ a series of ‘a collection of letters to, from, or about a wide variety of early-sixteenth-century European rulers, noblemen, and princes of the Roman Catholic Church’ (2), which was published, in 1577 by Giordano Ziletti.

According to Edwards, the author and recipient of the letters are unknown but he thinks that they were written by a member of the Venetian diplomatic embassy. It is not clear if the author actually witnessed the events of the 10th of July or if he received the details from an eye witness.

I thought that today would be a good time to look at what, if anything these new letters add to our knowledge of Jane’s arrival at the Tower.

I have used sources that are available to me, so if I have missed any, please let me know.

This is the translation of a section of the first letter, dated or written on 24th July 1553.

‘Came this Lady Jane on the 10th of July from Syon to the Tower of London by water, accompanied by great Lords, men and women. Entering into the Tower with the men ahead, the ladies proceeded. The most near to her among the Lords was Northumberland, and among the ladies the mother, who as greatest in precedence held the train of the gown. Now you say to me that this seems to you a monstrosity. To see a child Queen, [who] by certain reason came from the mother, father and mother living, and neither [one of them] King nor Queen. To speak with her and to serve her on bended knee. Not only all the others, but the father and the mother! To have a good husband without gifts other than beauty, his father living, and fourth born. The husband stood with hat in hand, not only in front of the Queen, but in front of father and mother, all the other Lords making a show of themselves putting the knee on the ground.’ (3)

This letter tells us the following about 10 July:

• Jane arrived by water from Syon to take possession of the Tower of London
• Jane’s mother, Frances, Duchess of Suffolk, carried the train of her gown in the procession.
• Jane’s parents were amongst those who were deferential in their behaviour towards her.
• Guildford Dudley’s behaviour is mentioned in detail.

It has been over four years since Leanda de Lisle announced that the famous description of Jane arriving at the Tower of London by Baptisa Spinola was a fake, created by Richard Davey. Stephan Edwards has also conducted his own research into the Baptisa letter and concurs with de Lisle. (4)

However, there are other contemporary accounts of Jane’s arrival at the Tower. These were by the Spanish Ambassadors, in an anonymous report included in the Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553’, the writers of ‘The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary’, the ‘Chronicle of the Grey Friars’ and the ‘Wriothesley’ Chronicle, as well as the diarist Henry Machyn and Jane herself.

All of these accounts (apart from those by the Spanish Ambassadors, who do not mention how Jane arrived at the Tower) agree that Jane and her party arrived at the Tower of London by water, although there are differences in the starting point of her journey. This new letter has her arriving from Syon, which is also implied by the report of 20th July, ‘Advices from England’ (the unknown author of which, wrote that, ‘I was yesterday at the (Imperial) ambassadors’) (5)

‘On Saturday the Duke—and when I say “Duke” you are to understand “Northumberland”—went to Sion House, whither all the other members of the Council repaired on Sunday to a great banquet attended by the two Duchesses and the Lady Jane, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, who was afterwards proclaimed Queen. The Council fixed upon their plan of action, and on Monday, at two o’clock in the afternoon, there came in the royal barges the Duke of Suffolk; my Lord Guilford, son of the Duke and husband of the Lady Jane; the Lady Jane herself, the two Duchesses and other ladies attended by a great following, and landed at the Tower…’ (6)

Jane, in the letter she wrote to Mary in August 1553, states that she was at Syon on 9th July and ‘… as everybody knows, the following day I was brought to the Tower.’ (7) Jane does not mention going anywhere else before the Tower but this level of detail could have been considered insignificant by Jane in what, Ives calls ‘the one written appeal… that would have been allowed .’ (8)

The author of the ‘Chronicle of the Grey Friars’ however, writes that Jane ‘was browte that same afternone from Richemond un-to Westmyster, and soo unto the tower of London by watter.’ (9) The ‘Wriothesley’ chronicle has Jane being ‘brought by water from Grenewich to the Tower of London.’ (10)

The new letter also mentions that Frances, Duchess of Suffolk carried her daughter’s train in procession to the Tower.

‘The most near to her among the Lords was Northumberland, and among the ladies the mother, who as greatest in precedence held the train of the gown.’ (11)

This was noted in other accounts but is not mentioned by the Grey Friars Chronicle or in ‘The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary.’ The Spanish Ambassadors wrote to Emperor Charles V on 10th July that,

At about four o’clock this afternoon the ceremony of the state entry was performed at the Tower of London with the accustomed pomp. The new Queen’s train was carried by her mother, the Duchess of Suffolk; and there were not many people present to witness the act.’ (12)

In the previously mentioned anonymous despatch (dated 20th July), it was written that,

‘…on Monday, at two o’clock in the afternoon, there came in the royal barges the Duke of Suffolk; my Lord Guilford, son of the Duke and husband of the Lady Jane; the Lady Jane herself, the two Duchesses and other ladies attended by a great following, and landed at the Tower where the Duke and the other Councillors were waiting to bid the Lady Jane, whose train was carried by her mother, welcome to the Tower.’ (13)

The London merchant taylor, Henry Machyn noted in his diary that,

‘The x day of July was reseyvyd in to the Towre [the Queen Jane] with a grett compeny of lords and nobulls of . . . . . after the qwen, and the duches of Suffoke her mother, bering her trayn, with mony lades…’ (14)

As Leanda de Lisle writes in ‘The Sisters Who Would Be Queen,’ this was ‘a striking visual reminder of how the correct order of things had been overthrown.’ (15) The writer of the letter also comments on this and the level of deferential treatment displayed to Jane by her own father and mother.

‘Now you say to me that this seems to you a monstrosity. To see a child Queen, [who] by certain reason came from the mother, father and mother living, and neither [one of them] King nor Queen. To speak with her and to serve her on bended knee. Not only all the others, but the father and the mother!’ (16)

Other sources only imply this level of treatment with the Spanish Ambassadors reporting that ‘the ceremony of the state entry was performed at the Tower of London with the accustomed pomp’ (17) and Francisco de Vargas wrote to Prince Philip that Northumberland made Jane, ‘take possession of the Tower and go through the usual ceremonies’ (18). The ‘Wriothesley’ Chronicle, the Spanish Ambassadors writing to Prince Philip, and the ‘Chronicle of Queen Jane etc’ all state that Jane was received as Queen. (19)

Jane herself had described in her letter to Mary how ‘all the Lords of the Council’ (20) had knelt to her as Queen at Syon House on 9th July but does not go into detail about her arrival at the Tower the following day.

The new letter also adds to our knowledge of Guildford Dudley’s behaviour on 10th July. Out of the other contemporary sources, only the anonymous report ‘Advices from England’ mentions Guildford’s presence, ‘my Lord Guildford, son of the Duke and husband of the Lady Jane.’ (21) The ‘Wriothseley Chronicle’ identifies Jane in terms of being ‘wyfe to the Lord Gilford Dudley’ (22) but does not comment on his presence. The ‘Diary of Henry Machyn’ only described ‘a grett company of lords and nobulls…with mony lades.’ (23)

The writer of the letter tells us that, ‘The husband stood with hat in hand, not only in front of the Queen, but in front of her father and mother, all the other Lords making a show of themselves putting the knee in the ground.’ (24) Guildford’s appearance is also commented on, with the implication that he was handsome, as he is described as ‘without gifts other than beauty.’ (25)

Edwards’ newly discovered letter (dated or written on 24th July 1553) gives us another view of Queen Jane’s arrival at the Tower of London on 10th July 1553. It supports the details given in anonymous report from 20th July, which implies that Jane came from Syon to the Tower (although both writers might not have been in a position to know the exact journey taken by the new Queen). This letter also reinforces three other accounts that state that the train of Jane’s gown was carried by her own mother. The writer emphasises how this went against what de Lisle calls ‘the correct order of things’ (26) and adds a detailed account of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk’s deferential behaviour towards their daughter. The letter also gives us new details of Guildford Dudley as he arrived at the Tower with his wife and adds an opinion to our knowledge of his physical appearance.


Sources


1. Edwards, S.< a href= http://www.somegreymatter.com/lettereintro.htm>Some Grey Matter – Lettere di Principi, le quali si scrivono o da principi, o ragionano di principi. Libro Terzo – An Introduction to this Source Date accessed: 5 July 2014

2. Ibid

3. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 5th July 2014

4. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – The Spinola Letter Date accessed: 5th July 2014

5. ‘Spain: July 1553, 16-20′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 90-109. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88485 Date accessed: 05 July 2014

6. Ibid

7. Malfatti, C.V (translator) (1956), The Accession Coronation and Marriage of Mary Tudor as related in four manuscripts of the Escorial, Barcelona, p.48.

8. Ives, E. (2009) Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, Wiley-Blackwell, p.19

9. ‘The Chronicle of the Grey Friars: Jane’, Chronicle of the Grey Friars of London: Camden Society old series, volume 53 (1852), pp. 78-80. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51589 Date accessed: 05 July 2014.

10. Wriothesley, C. (1877), A Chronicle of England During the Reigns of the Tudors, Vol II, p.85. URL:http://archive.org/stream/chronicleofengla02camduoft/chronicleofengla02camduoft_djvu.txt Date accessed: 08 July 2014

11. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 5th July 2014

12. ‘Spain: July 1553, 1-10′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 69-80. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88483 Date accessed: 08 July 2014

13. ‘Spain: July 1553, 16-20′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 90-109. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88485 Date accessed: 05 July 2014

14. ‘Diary: 1553 (Jul – Dec)’, The Diary of Henry Machyn: Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London (1550-1563) (1848), pp. 34-50. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45512 Date accessed: 08 July 2014

15. De Lisle, L. (2010) The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, HarperPress, p.113.

16. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 5th July 2014

17. ‘Spain: July 1553, 1-10′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 69-80. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88483 Date accessed: 08 July 2014

18. ‘Spain: July 1553, 21-31′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 109-127. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88486 Date accessed: 10 July 2014

19. Wriothesley, C. (1877), A Chronicle of England During the Reigns of the Tudors, Vol II, p.85. URL:http://archive.org/stream/chronicleofengla02camduoft/chronicleofengla02camduoft_djvu.txt Date accessed: 08 July 2014

‘Spain: July 1553, 16-20′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 90-109. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88485 Date accessed: 05 July 2014

Nichols, J. G (ed) (1850) The Chronicle of Queen Jane and of Two Years of Queen Mary and Especially of the Rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt, Written by a Resident in the Tower of London, Llanerch Publishers, p.3.

20. Malfatti, C.V (translator) (1956), The Accession Coronation and Marriage of Mary Tudor as related in four manuscripts of the Escorial, Barcelona, p.46.

21. ‘Spain: July 1553, 16-20′, Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 11: 1553 (1916), pp. 90-109. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=88485 Date accessed: 05 July 2014

22. Wriothesley, C. (1877), A Chronicle of England During the Reigns of the Tudors, Vol II, p.85. URL:http://archive.org/stream/chronicleofengla02camduoft/chronicleofengla02camduoft_djvu.txt Date accessed: 08 July 2014

23. ‘Diary: 1553 (Jul – Dec)’, The Diary of Henry Machyn: Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London (1550-1563) (1848), pp. 34-50. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45512 Date accessed: 08 July 2014

24. Edwards, S. Some Grey Matter – Two Letters Concerning Lady Jane Grey of England, written in London in July 0f 1553 Date accessed: 5th July 2014

25. Ibid.

26. De Lisle, L. (2010) The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey, HarperPress, p.113.


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And the winners are…


Leanda de Lisle has picked three winners at random. Congratulations to:

Denise Duvall
Sarah Joy
Sarah Marshman

who have won a copy of ‘Tudor: The Family Story.’

Thank you to all those who entered the competition.


Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle (Vintage, £8.99)

Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle (Vintage, £8.99)

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And the winner is…


Congratulations to Michele Lawrence who won a copy of ‘George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat’.

Thank you to all those who entered the competition.

(c) GlobalMade Publishing

(c) GlobalMade Publishing

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The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered at the National Portrait Gallery


Major Paintings and Treasures of Tudor Monarchs Brought Together For The First Time


The National Portrait Gallery has announced a new free exhibition of Tudor portraits starting in September.

Highlighting groundbreaking new research undertaken as part of the Gallery’s ‘Making Art in Tudor Britain’ project and fully detailed in a major accompanying book, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (12 September 2014 – 1 March 2015) will allow visitors to rediscover the Tudor monarchs through the most complete presentation of their portraiture staged to date. This face-to-face encounter will be enhanced by the display of a single prized possession of each monarch, from a rosary to a ring.’ ( © NPG)


Alongside portraits of the Tudor monarchs, the following objects will be on display:

Henry VII – a Book of Hours ‘inscribed by the king to his daughter.’

Henry VIII – ‘his Rosary on loan from Chatsworth.’

Edward VI – ‘a page from his diary in which he reports his father’s death.’

Mary I – ’her Prayer Book loaned from Westminster Cathedral.’

Elizabeth I – ‘her locket ring, a rare loan from Chequers.’ (© NPG)


(c) NPG 6804; Lady Jane Dudley (nee Grey) by Unknown artist

(c) NPG 6804; Lady Jane Dudley (nee Grey) by Unknown artist

The exhibition also includes:

‘the search for a ‘real’ portrait of Lady Jane Grey in the sixteenth century will also be discussed through the display of a commemorative portrait of Jane that dates from the Elizabethan period.’ (©NPG)


‘Many of the portraits on display have been examined as part of the Gallery’s ‘Making Art in Tudor Britain’ project in which the use of scientific analysis has resulted in a new discoveries and insights into the dating technique and production of Tudor portraits. This important research has allowed the Gallery to ask fundamental questions about how, when and why portraits were made, and revealed new information about these familiar faces.’ (©NPG)

The book to accompany the exhibition will be published on 12th September.


(c) National Portrait Gallery

(c) National Portrait Gallery


‘This fascinating introduction to the portraiture of the Tudor monarchs explores how all five kings and queens of this famous English dynasty were represented. The authors also reveal the intriguing findings of recent research and explain how the technical analysis of these portraits has advanced our knowledge of how and when they were created.’ (© NPG)

Further details of the book can be found at the National Portrait Gallery website:

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered

Further details of the exhibition can be found at:

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered
Rooms 1-3
National Portrait Gallery



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Elizabeth Fremantle answers your questions about ‘Sisters of Treason’

Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. Elizabeth Fremantle has very kindly answered all the questions that were submitted.

Barry
Not so much a questions as a request. Having read Queens Gambit and thinking it was excellent, have thought about writing a book myself, I already have the core of the story but want to set it in the Elizabethan era. Do you have any recommendations of the best places I should look (bibliography etc) for some historical social history to make it much more sure footed?

I’d recommend, as a good place to start, Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England. It will point you in the direction of other excellent texts. Otherwise there is a fairly comprehensive book list in the back of Sisters of Treason.


Kathryn
There isn’t that much written about Lady Mary Grey (fiction and non fiction) why is this and do you think her other sisters had a good relationship with her?

I think perhaps people have shunned writing about Mary because she was disabled. That was something that I wanted to focus on specifically – to draw a character who despite severe physical challenges, was spirited and defiant and courageous enough to strike out for personal happiness at great risk. I have not read anywhere that Mary’s relationship with her sisters was problematic and in the novel I have depicted them as very close.


Helene
What do you think about history being fictionalised and how far is it okay to change the facts to suit an end?

Personally, in my own work, I feel it is important to stick to the historical facts as we know them but at such a distance there are many gaps and grey areas; it is in these spaces I give reign to creativity. I am primarily interested in the people themselves and not how they might fit into my fictional scheme, rather it is the fictional scheme that must be made to fit them, if that makes sense. Obviously we are not party to the thoughts and feelings of people who lived four and a half centuries ago and, as fiction is usually character led and character must be drawn from the inside out, then perhaps that is where the greatest invention lies. That is my own method of working and I certainly prefer to read historically accurate novels, but I believe that writers of fiction must approach history in the way that best suits their own particular project.


Patricia
Did Lady Mary and Lady Catherine grow up at Bradgate in Leicestershire?

Yes, Bradgate was one of the Grey family’s homes and the girls certainly spent some of their childhood there. In those days the nobility moved about a good deal between their estates but Bradgate was, I believe, the main family residence.


Hamish
Why do you think Elizabeth never had her mother’s marriage legalised thus wiping away her illegitimacy and do you think she really was concerned about Katherine Grey’s claim to the throne or was she merely using this as a pretext to rid herself of a person who was seen by some to have a more legitimate claim?

Perhaps Elizabeth felt that seeking to legalise her mother’s marriage might have suggested that she didn’t believe fully in her own legitimacy. It’s hard to know what her particular motives might have been for such things at such a distance in time, so one can only speculate. I do believe that she was concerned about Katherine Grey’s claim – it was a strong one and supported by her father’s act of succession – but then again she was concerned about any possible claimants weakening her position. It is generally supposed that she refused to name a successor for fear of losing her own position to them, which makes sense, but was disastrous for the country, particularly towards the end of her reign. In the case of the Greys she always viewed them as traitor stock, though how she reconciled that with her close relationship to Robert Dudley, whose brother and father were caught up in the same treachery, I do not know.


Tracie
When writing about a historical character of which not much is known, how do you decide what to do in order to “flesh them out”? Is there a certain reference method you use, or is it mostly author creative licensing?

It really depends on the individual character. If we know some things about an individual’s life then we can come to an understanding of how and why they went from point A to point B and the choices they might have made to get there. Even if very little is known about a person it is important to be armed with as much knowledge about the situation, environment and people around them, and from that extrapolate a sense of what that individual’s place might have been within that. I then try to get under the skin of the known facts and into the humanity beneath. From there a character begins to emerge but it is always an act of imagination, because however much historical record we have about people from the past we rarely, unless they have left very intimate letters, get a glimpse into their souls.


Catherine
I’d be interested in your view of Frances Gray & her relationship with the girls, do you agree with Leanda De Lisle that she’s a much maligned character?

I do indeed agree with Leanda de Lisle that poor Frances Grey has been misjudged. Just think of that portrait of stern, matronly Lady Dacre and her son, which was long assumed to be of Frances and her second husband and used as a way to judge her as lascivious and cradle-snatching. In fact Frances’s second husband Adrian Stokes was only a couple of years her junior. It makes one realise that the truth can become buried beneath supposition and judgement, so I felt compelled to depict Frances differently in Sisters of Treason.


Zoe
I am interested to know your thoughts on Henry’s true feelings towards Anne of Cleeves. Do you believe he regretted his disregard of her considering their later friendship? And would things have been different for them had the young Catherine Howard not caught his eye?

It’s impossible to know what Henry truly thought of Anne of Cleves but my impression is that he was simply not attracted to her – a question of chemistry – and that Katherine Howard had nothing to do with the outcome of their marriage. There was a political agenda behind the marriage which had been eclipsed rather quickly, so the match, from a perspective of international connections, had lost it’s allure too.


Eliza
Do you think that Lady Jane Grey wanted to become Queen? Did she see this as her mission in life or she was just doing her parents’ bid?

There is a case to be made for thinking that she might have felt it was God’s wish for her and, as she was particularly devout, she might have welcomed it for that reason, however reluctantly. So perhaps it is obedience to God rather than just her parents, though there is little doubt she was manipulated by Northumberland and her father.


Alex
Which book did you most enjoy writing, ‘Queen’s Gambit’ or ‘Sisters of Treason?’

Queen’s Gambit was more of a challenge, perhaps because it was my first historical novel; after the second draft it simply wasn’t working, so I had to scrap everything I’d written and start again from scratch. That experience taught me much and so I came to Sisters of Treason armed with that knowledge. But the truth is I simply enjoy the writing and the research, however difficult it is.


Ellie
Do you think that Philip of Spain would have married Mary I, if Jane Grey had not been executed?

It is unlikely, because she would have had little international prestige in such a situation. Philip of spain was one of the most powerful figures in Europe and would have only married a woman who could have brought with her important connections.


Suzanne
Have you visited any places connected with the Grey sisters?

I spend some of my research time visiting the sites connected with my characters and as the Grey girls were at court they will have lived at Hampton Court, which is the best surviving example of the Royal palaces along the Thames. The Tower of London too, offers insights into Katherine’s incarceration and of course Bradgate Park, though a ruin, remains an inspiration.


Kat
Which of the Grey sisters did you enjoy writing about the most?

Probably Mary Grey: she was hugely demanding because it took a leap of imagination and a good deal of research to try and understand what it might have been for her with the physical challenges she faced. But when I finally began to find her voice her character became increasingly appealing.


Rachel
Do you think Edward Seymour really loved Katherine or loved the idea of the throne more?

To answer this properly would mean a spoiler for the novel so I’m afraid I will have to leave you hanging.


Dominique
After what happened to Katherine, why do you think Mary risked marrying?

And again, as with the previous question, I fear answering this would spoil people’s enjoyment of the novel.


Marie
As a child I was force fed a diet of Georgette Heyer, which I think of as historical fiction junk food! But which authors did you read growing up that inspired you to choose this particular fiction genre?

I read voraciously as a child and loved the novels of Jean Plaidy and all her many pseudonyms. Astonishingly she wrote three books a year, so inevitably some were better than others, but I didn’t care about that as the stories were so absorbing and they certainly sewed the seed of my fascination for women in history.

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Books 2014: On sale today – Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle


Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle (Vintage, £8.99)

Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle (Vintage, £8.99)


‘The Tudors are a national obsession; they are our most notorious royal family. But, as Leanda de Lisle shows in this gripping new history, beyond the well-worn headlines is a family still more extraordinary than the one we thought we knew.

The Tudor canon typically starts with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, before speeding on to Henry VIII and the Reformation. But this leaves out the family’s obscure Welsh origins, the ordinary man known as Owen Tudor who would fall (literally) into a Queen’s lap, and later her bed. It passes by the courage of Margaret Beaufort, the pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who would help found the Tudor dynasty; and the childhood and painful exile of her son, the future Henry VII. It ignores the fact that the Tudors were shaped by their past – those parts they wished to remember and those they wished to forget.

By creating a full family portrait set against the background of this past, Leanda de Lisle enables us to see the Tudors in their own terms, rather than ours; and presents new perspectives and revelations on key figures and events. We see a family dominated by remarkable women doing everything possible to secure its future; understand why the Princes in the Tower were disappeared; look again at the bloodiness of Mary’s reign; at Elizabeth’s relationships with her cousins; and re-discover the true significance of previously overlooked figures. We see the supreme importance of achieving peace and stability in a violent and uncertain world, and of protecting and securing the bloodline.

Tudor tells a family story like no other, and brings it once more to vivid life.’

From Amazon.co.uk

Further details from Amazon.co.uk

Leanda de Lisle


You can win one of three copies here


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And the winners of Sisters of Treason are…

Helene
Kathryn R
Eliza
Kat
Ellie

Your names were selected by Elizabeth Fremantle to win a copy of Sisters of Treason. I will be emailing you shortly.

Thank you to everyone who took part.

(c) Penguin

(c) Penguin

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Hunting Jane / Jane Doe by Leanda de Lisle


(c) Paramount Pictures

(c) Paramount Pictures


Historian Leanda de Lisle has very kindly written this guest article. The paperback of the best selling, ‘Tudor: The Family Story’ is published on Thursday 5th June.


Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle (Vintage, £8.99)

Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle (Vintage, £8.99)


A renaissance-hunting scene opens Trevor Nunn’s 1985 film, Lady Jane. Amongst the white clad riders is Frances, mother of the future Nine Day’s Queen. When the doe is brought to bay, Frances dismounts. Soon a river of blood will run on the snow. The scene captures her historical reputation as a destroyer of innocents and foreshadows Jane’s fate. But history has traduced Frances and buried the real life of Lady Jane Grey.

Frances was Henry VIII’s niece and the wife of Harry Grey, Marques of Dorset. Under the terms of the late King’s will her daughters followed Mary and Elizabeth Tudor, half sisters of Henry’s son, Edward VI, in line to the throne. But it was expected that young Edward would one day marry. Harry Grey pursued the hope that it would be to the eldest Grey girl, Jane. It is Frances, nevertheless, who is credited with being the dominant force in the family, and one whose ambition would destroy Jane. She was, historian Alison Weir tells, ‘greedy for power and riches’, ruling ‘her husband and daughters tyrannically and, in the case of the latter, often cruelly’.

The accusations of child abuse originate in the same story that fuelled later claims that Frances was a bloodthirsty huntress. Over a decade after Jane had died the academic, Roger Ascham, described finding the thirteen-year old prodigy reading Plato in Greek, while the rest of the household was out hunting. Hunting was then considered a noble and practical pursuit, supplying a house with food and skins. There was nothing exceptional in Frances being amongst them. More damning is that Ascham also recalled Jane explaining that she loved to study because lessons with her kindly tutor were a respite from ‘sharp, severe parents’. Ascham was, however, writing to an agenda: his desire to overturn harsh contemporary teaching methods. At the time he met Jane he had commented only on her parents’ pride in her work, and the ‘kindly’ tutor was busy expressing a desire to ‘bridle’ a spirited teenager.

Tales of Frances’s exceptional cruelty don’t bear close examination. But what of the further accusation that she drove Jane to her death through greed and ambition?

By the summer of 1553, when Jane was sixteen, it was evident Edward VI was dying. Anxious that his Catholic half sister, Mary Tudor, should not undo his religious reforms, he had written a will excluding his sisters from the succession on grounds of their illegitimacy (the marriages of their mothers to his father having been annulled). In their place he named the passionately Protestant Jane. That Jane was now to be a Queen regnant was not an outcome that Frances had sought. Her own claim to the throne was superior to her daughter’s under the usual rules of inheritance. Frances was, rather, obliged to accept the King’s decision: one likely inspired by Edward’s judgement that Jane was more likely than she to produce a male heir.

As a mark of submission Frances carried her daughter’s train in the procession to the Tower, where Jane was proclaimed Queen on July 10th 1553. The additional and famous description of Jane, tiny, red-haired, and smiling, said to have been written by a contemporary witness, is, I can reveal, a twentieth century fraud.

Frances remained with her daughter while a determined Jane raised an army to fight for her throne against Mary Tudor. And, when Jane was overthrown nine days later, it was Frances who rode all night to see Mary and beg for the lives of her family. It was through no fault of her own that Frances’s efforts came to nothing. Jane continued to attack Mary’s religious policies even while a prisoner. And when Harry Grey took part in a failed revolt against Mary in January 1554, Jane was judged a continuing threat.

On the scaffold, aware that the Protestant cause was being tainted by treason, Jane’s last speech reminded people that while she was guilty in law, she had accepted the crown she was bequeathed and was innocent of having sought it. She was beheaded on February 12th dying, it was said, ‘with more than manly courage’. Religious propagandists later developed Jane’s clams to innocence and over the centuries the girl who had held all the power of a Tudor monarch, became an icon of female helplessness. The sado-masochistic dimension to this is evident in Paul Delaroche’s 1833 historical portrait, ‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’, now at the centre of a major exhibition at the National Gallery. Jane dressed in white, feeling blindly for the block, has all the erotic overtones of a virgin sacrifice.

Frances, meanwhile, was re-invented as Jane’s alter ego: powerful, ruthless, and sexually predatory. A double portrait of Lady Dacre and her son by Hans Eworth was, from 1727, said to depict Frances and a twenty one year old boy she married within weeks of her husband’s execution. In fact Frances married the middle-aged Adrian Stokes a year later. The revelation of the true identity of the Eworth sitters, in the 1980s, has not prevented Jane’s biographers from continuing to use the image of Lady Dacre to claim a resemblance between Frances and Henry VIII.

This urge to associate powerful women with masculine characteristics is an ancient one, and has fuelled the caricature of Frances the bloodthirsty huntress. Unlike reading, bridling a galloping horse does not well reflect the passive, gentle nature traditionally expected of women. The good girl is always the weak doe. The wicked woman holds the reins of power. That is the moral of the spun history of Lady Jane Grey and her mother. Strange we remain so willing to accept it.


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George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat Virtual Book Tour – Win a Copy and Guest Article – This competition is now closed


I am delighted to welcome Clare Cherry and Claire Ridgway to the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide for day 6 of their virtual book tour to celebrate the publication of ‘George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat.’


(c) GlobalMade Publishing

(c) GlobalMade Publishing


As well as giving us an insight into how the book came about, they have very kindly donated a copy for a worldwide giveaway.


To enter:

Email me at ljgcompetition at yahoo.co.uk , with George Boleyn in the Subject line and leave your name and country. Replace at with @.

The competition ends at midnight (UK time) on Sunday 7th June.

The winner will be selected at random by Claire Ridgway.

Good luck!


How George Boleyn: Tudor Poet, Courtier and Diplomat came about


Clare


(c) GlobalMade Publishing

(c) GlobalMade Publishing


I’ve always been interested in Tudor history, and read a lot of Starkey’s books in my teens and early twenties. Primarily my interest was in Elizabeth I, but later Henry VIII and his wives too. I had never read any historical fiction books, but in mid 2006, based on the popularity of the book, I read ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory. Although I enjoyed the story, I was bemused by the portrayal of George Boleyn, and by the author’s note suggesting that the group of men who surrounded Anne included a homosexual element including her brother. I had never read that before so I investigated where the story came from.

I initially looked up George Boleyn’s name on the Internet, and saw that there was very little about him other than the fact that he was the brother accused of incest with Anne. There were countless references to his homosexuality, and I then read the book which first came up with that, namely Retha Warnicke’s biography of Anne written during the late 1980s. I was very unconvinced by her arguments, and so I then read Eric Ives’ biography of Anne, which is probably the most respected of all the books written about Anne. He gave more details about George than I had seen before, but even here George was only a bit player.

I had gradually become interested in George to the extent that I wanted to learn more about him. The problem was knowing where to look. The non-fiction books I read all had very diverse views of him but were sorely lacking in information. I then took a look at Ives’ bibliography, in particular the primary sources. It was a bit of a eureka moment when I came to the conclusion that there was no reason why I couldn’t go back to the primary sources myself. After all they aren’t there just for historians, and, irrespective of the fact that I was no historian, I took a look at them.

I started with all those sources which Ives referred to when discussing George, so I read Letters and Papers of Henry VIII in 21 volumes, and then when onto the Lisle Letters. I started reading anything I could get my hands on which referred to George. The more I read the more passionate I became about writing as accurate account of George’s life as I could. At first I was going to write a pamphlet, mainly for my own pleasure, but the pamphlet grew and grew as I found more and more information about him. My small pamphlet gradually grew into a book sized manuscript.

Then in late 2009 I came across a site called The Anne Boleyn Files and took a look at it. I made a couple of comments on Claire’s articles, and in early 2010 I sent her an email and later my George manuscript as we became friends and when I realised she too was interested in George as well as Anne.

So over to Claire!

Claire

(c) GlobalMade Publishing

(c) GlobalMade Publishing


As Clare said, we had got to know each other through Clare commenting on my articles on The Anne Boleyn Files. This, in turn, led to us corresponding by email and eventually meeting when Clare and her partner came on The Anne Boleyn Experience tour in summer 2011. We just clicked, probably because we’re both Tudor addicts and we both get completely obsessed about things.

When I read Clare’s draft manuscript, I told her that she had to get it published and out there for people to read. I knew from my experience running The Anne Boleyn Files and writing about Anne that people were hungry for information on George, and that there were assumptions out there that needed to be challenged just as those about Anne had been.

Clare had put an immense amount of work into her manuscript, it was so detailed and was fully referenced. She’d shown it to historian James Carley, who said that it needed more work and editing, and she’d become disheartened, but I knew that it was worth working on. After months of twisting her arm (and I mean twisting her arm – at one point she wanted to destroy the manuscript!), she agreed to us working on it as a joint project. Clare had changed her mind about some things, particularly her portrayal of Jane Boleyn, and there were various parts of the book where I had expertise because of the research I had done, for example, the books that had belonged to George and Anne, and also their faith. My knowledge of French also meant that I could explore the French sources in a bit more depth and get to grips with Edmond Bapst’s 19th century biography of George, which I also worked on with a professional translator. We decided to carry out more research and then weave together our research and rewrite the book. We had appreciated the bibliographies and notes of books we used for research, so our book is also fully referenced so that readers can see what our portrayal of George is based on.

It was a huge project, but I enjoyed every minute of working with Clare. Every step of the way we wanted to be true to George and we didn’t want a book full of “may be”s and “probably”s. I hope that the end result is a book that will satisfy readers’ curiosity about George and that has “fleshed” him out. He had an incredible career and life, and he deserves to be recognised for the man he was, rather than the man many of us know from fiction.


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