BBC Radio Lincolnshire
1st February 2009
You can listen to the 15 minute interview at BBCiplayer until 6pm Sunday 8th February 2009. It is 1 hour 14 minutess in to the show.
The main points of the interview were:
Katherine and Mary Grey – Their stories weren’t particularly well known because there were details in them that were embarrassing and principally it is that when Elizabeth I died in 1603, the Greys and their descendants were the heirs under English law to her and in fact the crown passed instead to the Stuart King, James I.
Under the usual common law, (as illegitimate) Mary and Elizabeth could not inherit the throne. They only inherited because Henry VIII appointed them his heirs and he was given this right by parliament.
The people who were in power at the end of Edward’s reign were then called Evangelicals and are now called Protestants. They were determined that a Protestant would inherit the throne after Edward. This did not look likely as Mary, who was a Catholic, was his heir under the terms of King Henry’s will. Edward did not want his illegitimate sisters inheriting his throne.
Number of reasons why Edward might not have chosen Frances Grey, it was unlikely that she was going to have a son and he wanted someone who was going to produce a male heir. So she was passed over and it went instead to Jane, who was married off to the son of the principal man in his government, the Duke of Northumberland.
Katherine and Mary’s stories are unfairly obscured. They are extremely dramatic and romantic and shed fresh light on the reign of Elizabeth.
Elizabeth was particularly frightened of Katherine because she was concerned that if Katherine married and she didn’t, that she in turn would be overthrown by her Protestant supporters and replaced by Katherine.
Katherine despaired that she would never be reunited with her husband and starved herself to death.
Mary was the survivor of the three sisters. At the time Mary married, Elizabeth was so angry that parliament kept on pressing her to name Katherine as her heir, that she threw Mary and her husband into different prisons.
Elizabeth did not act cruelly without reason and lived in genuine fear of her life, all her life.
Efforts that were made by Kings and male politicians to deprive women specifically of holding the absolute power of the monarchy. Eventually undermined the foundations of autocracy and led to our constitutional monarchy.
Jane very much played a role in her own life, in her reign and in her fate. Understood the weapons of propaganda and was prepared to embrace martyrdom for her cause.
There had been no Queen regnant before Jane. People had a very strong sense of hierarchy and in the hierarchy women were below men. How could a woman be a monarch and be above men?
The crown became weaker because they thought that female monarchs needed to be controlled by male politicians. This meant the crown was being controlled by politicians.
When in the end there were no more female monarchs, when James I became King, English politicians had got into a particular way of thinking.