10th July 1553 – Jane in her own words

‘Although my fault is such that it can only be pardoned by the Queen’s mercy, nor can I ask for reprieve, having listened to those who at a time appeared to me as wise, and now have shown that they were not so, as they were distributing gifts that did not belong to them, and that I should not have accepted; for these reasons I should feel ashamed begging to be pardoned for such a crime. Nevertheless as I now avow my lack of prudence for which I deserve the greatest punishment, failing the mercifulness of the Queen, thus I hope that as my fault is great, making this avowal at least I shall not be accused of crimes in which I have not incurred. Because, although I accepted that of which I was not worth, I never sought it.’ (p.45, Malfatti)

Professor Eric Ives writes ‘A letter of explanation and confession to the queen is the one written appeal from Jane that would have been allowed, the August date is what one would expect, and remarks made by Mary to the imperial ambassador on the 13th indicate that she received such a letter.’ (p.19, Ives)

Two versions of Jane’s letter exist.

This is how Jane recounts the events of 10th July in her letter to Queen Mary.

Version 1

‘Then, as everybody knows, the following day I was brought to the Tower and shortly afterwards the Lord Great Treasurer gave me the jewels and brought also the Crown, without having been asked for it in my name, and he wanted me to try it on to see if it did become me. And as I refused, he told me that another would also be made to crown my husband as King; this suggestion aggrieved me and when the said Lord had left, I talked the matter over with my husband until he agreed that in case of he being made King, that would be by me and by act of Parliament. But afterwards I summoned the Earls of Arundel and Pembroke and told them if the Crown pertained to me, I should be pleased to make my husband a Duke, but I should never consent to make him a King. When that was reported to his mother she got very angry at me and induced her son not to sleep any more with me and he did it, telling me that he did not want to be a Duke, but King. So much so that in the end I was compelled to send to him the Earls of Arundel and Pembroke to persuade him to come to me; otherwise I knew that the following morning he would have gone to Sion. Thus I have been deceived by the Duke, by the Council and by my husband and ill treated by his mother; furthermore it is known that John Gates has avowed that he was the first to suggest to the King to name me as his successor. Apart from it I ignore what the Council might have decided to do, but know very well that twice I have envenomed the first one at the house of the Duchess and afterwards at the Tower. And that I state as witness of my own innocence.’ (p.45, Malfatti)

Version 2

‘On the day following (as is known to every one) I was conducted to the Tower, and shortly afterwards were presented to me by the Marquis of Winchester, lord high treasurer, the jewels, with which he also brought me the crown, although it had never been demanded from him by me, or by any one in my name ; and he further wished me to put it on my head, to try whether it really became me well or no. The which, although with many excuses I refused to do, he nevertheless added, that I might take it without fear, and that another also should be made, to crown my husband with me. Which thing, I, for my part, heard truly with a troubled mind, and with ill will, even with infinite grief and displeasure of heart. And after the said lord was gone, and I was reasoning of many things with my husband, he assented, that if he were to be made King, he would be made so by me, by act of parliament. But afterwards I sent for the earls of Arundel and Pembroke, and said to them that if the crown belonged to me, I should be content to make my husband a duke, but would never consent to make him king. Which resolution of mine gave his mother (this my opinion being related to her) great cause for anger and disdain, so that she, being very angry with me,’ and greatly displeased, persuaded her son not to sleep with me any longer as he was wont to do, affirming to me moreover that he did not wish in any wise to be a duke, but a king. So that I was constrained to send to him the earls of Arundel and Pembroke, who had negotiated with him to come from me, otherwise I knew, that the next morning he would have gone to Sion. And thus in truth was I deceived by the duke and the council and ill-treated by my husband and his mother. Moreover (as Sir John Gates has confessed) he (the duke) was the first to persuade King Edward to make me his heir. As to the rest, for my part, I know not what the council had determined to do, but I know for certain that, twice during this time, poison was given to me, first in tire house of the duchess of Northumberland, and afterwards here in the Tower, as I have the best and most certain testimony, besides that since that time all my hair has fallen off, and all these things I have wished to say, for the witness of my innocence, and the dis-burdening of my conscience.(p.487-498, Stone)

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

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

Stone, J.M. (1901) The History of Mary I Queen of England, Sands & Co

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