The Sisters Who Would Be Queen – Hardback versus Paperback

Leanda de Lisle’s ‘The Sisters Who Would Be Queen’ was first published in January 2009 and the paperback in March 2010 (UK).

In the 2009 hardback version de Lisle had already dispelled some of the myths surrounding Lady Jane:

 Jane was not born in the same month as Edward VI
 Jane’s relationship with her mother
 Jane intended to rule and embraced the role of Queen
 ‘Jane died a leader and not merely a victim’ (p308, 2009)

In between publications, new discoveries about Jane Grey have emerged and they are included in the paperback. In the expanded ‘Author’s Note’ Leanda writes:

‘The life of Jane Grey that most of us know is an accumulation of myths and frauds… I was the first historian to uncover the distortions and misunderstandings that destroyed the posthumous reputation of the mother of the Grey sisters, and describe here for the first time how the famous description of Jane Grey being processed to the Tower as Queen was written not in 1553 but in 1909 by one Richard Patrick Boyle Davey.’ (p314, 2010)


De Lisle discusses why she considers the Spinola letter to be a fake and continues her argument in the ‘Author’s Note.’ She also compares the letter to other witness accounts.

Jane’s Letter to her Father

Leanda suggests that Jane’s letter to her father might be a fake. She notes that the letter did not come to light until 1570 but that this could have been because it was suppressed by the Grey family. (p148)

Eric Ives also doubts the authenticity of Jane’s letter in his 2009 ‘Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery.’

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