BBC Radio 4
4th February 2009
You can listen to the interview at BBCiplayer until 11am Wednesday 11th February 2009. The interview is 35 minutes 30 seconds in to the show.
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The main points of the interview were:
From the 17th and particularly from the 18th century Jane was recreated as a kind of ideal of girlhood. The ideal was considered to be a girl who didn’t answer back, was meek and mild, gentle, chaste and virginal.
She was extremely clever as well as highly educated. Jane was a feisty teenager; stroppy, argumentative, and opinionated. She was certainly very far from being the image of kitsch sweetness she has been portrayed as.
I don’t think she harboured personal ambitions to be Queen but nor do I think that she wanted Mary to be Queen. I think she expected her mother, who had a superior claim to her own, to be made Queen.
When she became Queen, the political elite were united behind her….realised they were facing a possible civil war and they also discovered that ordinary people were flocking in support of Mary. That their own tenants were refusing to fight for Jane against Mary and they thought they could shift all the blame onto Jane’s father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland.
Jane herself had, by this stage indicated that she wanted to lead opposition to Mary’s reintroduction of the Catholic mass. Mary believed that it was particularly the Protestant elite who tried to keep her out in 1553 and possibly even kill her and were doing the same again now in January 1554 and the time had come to be ruthless.
Elizabeth certainly did not think of Jane as being an innocent, meek and mild thing and saw her as a usurper. She also viewed Katherine as a potential usurper.
I like Mary because she had Jane’s intelligence but also Katherine’s warmth. She could be argumentative and stroppy like Jane but also she wasn’t just a person interested in ideas. She was interested in people and like Katherine, sacrificed everything for love in the end.