Nearly four years after Leanda de Lisle argued that the ‘Spinola’ letter containing the only detailed physical description of Jane and also details of her arrival at the Tower of London on 10 July 1553 was a fake, Dr Stephan Edwards has announced an exciting discovery.
Late last month, Edwards posted on his website ‘Some Grey Matter’ about two letters written in London in July 1553 that mention Lady Jane Grey. He writes that, ‘To my knowledge, neither of these letters has ever been published in English, and no historian writing on the subject of Jane Grey or the succession dispute of 1553 has ever cited them. They are presented here for what I believe is the first time in the modern era.’ (Some Grey Matter)
The letters appear in the third volume of ‘Lettere di Principi’ a series of ‘a collection of letters to, from, or about a wide variety of early-sixteenth-century European rulers, noblemen, and princes of the Roman Catholic Church’ (Some Grey Matter), which was published, in 1577 by Giordano Ziletti. According to Edwards, the author and recipient of the letters are unknown but he thinks that they were written by a member of the Venetian diplomatic embassy.
You can read the background to the letters here:
So what do the letters tell us about Jane?
The first letter (dated 24 July 1553), which Leanda de Lisle has called ‘a really important discovery’:
A description of Jane.
She was forced to wed Guildford Dudley by her father Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk.
Her mother, Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk, did not want her to marry Guildford.
Details of the wedding.
Jane’s arrival at the Tower of London on 10th July 1553.
Jane’s reaction when told she was no longer Queen.
The second letter does not mention Jane specifically but events that happened after her reign had ended and seems to have been written around the 28th July 1553.
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland and his five sons are prisoners in the Tower of London.
Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk was imprisoned in the Tower on 28th July.
You can read the English translation of the letters here:
You can read the Italian originals here:
Congratulations to Stephan on his wonderful discovery!