Spinola


The fullest contemporary description of Lady Jane Grey was supposedly written by Baptisa Spinola, a Genoese merchant, who witnessed her procession to the Tower of London to be proclaimed Queen of England on July 10 1553. Not only does he describe the procession but he was close enough to Lady Jane Grey, to describe her appearance in detail.

In 2009, Leanda de Lisle suggested in an article in The New Criterion that the letter is a fake. This was followed by the article ‘Faking Jane’ in the March 2010 issue of BBC History Magazine and ‘Slaughter of the Innocent’ in ‘The Story Of The Tudors’ (BBC History Magazine). You can read the article at Leanda de Lisle’s website: The Faking of Jane Grey

This theory was expanded on in the paperback version of ‘The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey’, published in 2010 and in de Lisle’s next book, ‘Tudor: The Family Story’ which was published in 2013.

Dr Stephan Edwards has conducted his own research into the ‘Spinola letter’ and agrees with de Lisle’s theory. You can read his research in his book ‘A Queen of a New Invention.’


This description can be found in the following:

The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered by Charlotte Bolland and Tarnya Cooper

Lady Jane Grey by Hester W Chapman

The Nine Days’ Queen: Lady Jane Grey and Her Times by Richard Davey

A Queen of a New Invention: Portraits of Lady Jane Grey Dudley, England’s ‘Nine Days Queen’ by Stephan Edwards. Includes a detailed analysis.

Lady Jane Grey and the House of Suffolk by Alison Plowden

Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen by Alison Plowden

Sovereign Ladies: The Six Reigning Queens of England by Maureen Waller

Children of England: The Heirs of King Henry VIII by Alison Weir (description based on Spinola’s account)



Extracts can be found in the following:

Tudor Cousins: Rivals for the Throne by Dulcie M Ashdown

She Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor (description based on Spinola’s account)

Lady Jane Grey: Nine Day Queen of England by Faith Cook

Tales from the Tower of London by Daniel Diehl and Mark P Donnelly

The Tudor Chronicles by Susan Doran

A New Face for the Lady by J Stephan Edwards (Some quotes and description based on Spinola’s account)

Looking for Lady Jane by Bruce Fellman (Yale Alumni Magazine)

Lost Faces: Identity and Discovery in Tudor Royal Portraiture edited by Bendor Grosvenor

Tower of London by Christopher Hibbert

Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery by Eric Ives

Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London by Nigel Jones (description based on Spinola’s account). Also states Jane was taken to the Tower on 11th July 1553. Contemporary accounts state the 10th.

The Other Tudors: Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards by Philippa Jones

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey by Leanda de Lisle

Tudor: The Family Story by Leanda de Lisle

The Nine Days Queen: A Portrait of Lady Jane Grey by Mary Luke

The House of Tudor Alison Plowden

Edward VI: The Lost King of England Chris Skidmore

The Greys: A Long and Noble Line: A Biography of the Family of Lady Jane Grey by Anthony Squires

Tudor and Jacobean Portraits (Volume 1: Text) by Roy Strong

Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey by Nicola Tallis (one line only)

Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Unwanted Wife by Sarah-Beth Watkins

The Tudor Brandons: Mary and Charles – Henry VIII’s Nearest & Dearest by Sarah-Beth Watkins (quotes only)

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (A short description based on Spinola’s account)

Mary Tudor: England’s First Queen Anna Whitelock (One line only, does not include description)

Teen Queen: Looking for Lady Jane by Cynthia Zarin (The New Yorker)