Events in Fiction – Lady Mary Grey who died on 20th April 1578

On 20th April 1578, Lady Mary Grey died aged 33.

Mary was placed under house arrest for marrying without the Queen’s permission. After the death of her husband, Mary was eventually freed.

In Sisters of Treason by E.C Fremantle, in June 1572, when no longer under house arrest, Mary meets with the painter Levina Teerlinc.

(c) Penguin

‘In the scheme of a life, it is not the duration of something but its impact that is important. My short marriage, Jane’s short life – those memories do not fade.’

…’I forgot, I brought something for you,’ Levina says, fumbling in a satchel at her feet, passing Mary a roll of papers.

Mary pulls the ends of the string that ties them, allowing them to unfurl; they are drawings from long ago. There is one of Frances and several of Katherine – Katherine smiling that irresistible smile; Katherine laughing; Katherine sulking, the prettiest sulk you have ever seen; Katherine whispering something to Juno.

Mary sifts through them, finally coming upon one of Jane. She is there in a few lines: the stoic calm, that hint of a smile, her profundity.

‘You have borne witness to it all, Veena, the great moments and the small. I suppose that is the role of a painter. I’d never really thought…the distillation of moments in time.’ She looks for a while at the image of her eldest sister, her expression impossible to read. ‘Might I keep this one?’

‘They are all for you. It is your family, your past – they are yours.’

(c) Penguin, p.448

In The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory, Mary Grey reflects on events.

(c) Simon & Schuster UK

‘Spring 1573

‘I am glad I did not choose a martyr’s death like Jane, and I am glad that I did not break my heart like Katherine, I am glad that I loved Thomas and that I know that I love him still. I am glad that Elizabeth did not destroy me, that I defied her and never regretted it, and that my little life, as a little person, has been a life of greatness to me.

I smooth down my black gown. I always wear black as an honourable rich widow…Underneath my black brocade I wear a petticoat of scarlet…that shows in glorious flashes of colour as I walk around my good house, or when I step outside in the street. Red is the colour of defiance, red is the colour of life, red is the colour of love, and so it is my colour. I shall wear my black embroidered gown and my red petticoat till the day that I die – and whenever that is, if that poor loveless thing Elizabeth is still on the throne, then I know at least that she will give me a magnificent funeral, fit for the last Tudor princess.’

(c) Simon & Schuster UK, p.512-3

This entry was posted in Events in Fiction and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.