Review 2012

In 2012 Lady Jane Grey featured in the re-enactment of Queen Katherine Parr’s funeral at Sudeley Castle as part of the Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary celebrations. She was also included in two TV series.

Lady Jane Grey mourns Katherine Parr
(c) Jennie Rainsford

In January, Dr Suzannah Lipscomb (author of ‘1536: The Year That Changed Henry VIII’) announced that she would co-present a 3 part TV series about the Tower of London to be broadcast in the spring.

Author Susan Higginbotham continued blogging about the Grey family. In February she published the following articles at her blog ‘History Refreshed’ (The Will of Mary Grey and Myths About Lady Jane Grey’s and Guildford Dudley’s Executions).

The BBC Radio 4 series ‘Art of the Monarchy’ began in February. The eight part collaboration between BBC Radio 4 and the Royal Collection also featured historian Dr Anna Whitelock. Among the items discussed were miniatures of Henry Fitzroy and Mary Queen of Scots, a portrait of Richard III and a painting of The Field of the Cloth of Gold. (Art of Monarchy).

In March Leanda de Lisle gave two talks about Lady Jane Grey and her sisters. The Gloucestershire Echo interviewed the 12 year old who plays Jane in a film for the ‘Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary Festival 2012 at Sudeley Castle (Interviews with Francesca Deverell-Jones). ‘A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England’ by Dr Suzannah Lipscomb was published in March. The guide includes several places linked to Lady Jane (e.g. Tower of London and the Guildhall).

This month also saw the broadcast of Dr Helen Castor’s 3 part documentary series on BBC4. ‘She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens’ was based on her 2010 book (She Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth) and ‘explores the lives of seven English queens who challenged male power, the fierce reactions they provoked and whether the term ‘she wolves’ was deserved’ (BBC4). Part 1 focused on Matilda the Empress and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Part 2 on Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou and Part 3 on Lady Jane Grey, Mary I and Elizabeth I.

I got married in April and the tables at our reception were named after Tudors and one Stuart (Wedding Tables 1 and Wedding Tables 2). On honeymoon we visited the ‘Lux in Arcana Exhibition in Rome. You can read about the exhibition in the guest article I wrote for The Anne Boleyn Files (Lux in Arcana).

Dr Stephan Edwards continued his research into possible portraits of Lady Jane Grey with the Northwick Park portrait (Some Grey Matter – Northwick Park Portrait).

The National Geographic series ‘Bloody Tales of the Tower’ presented by Dr Suzannah Lipscomb and Joe Crowley was broadcast in April. The three episodes included the love story between Arbella Stuart and William Seymour, the executions of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard and Lady Jane Grey. You can read my write up of their investigation of Jane at Bloody Tales of the Tower – Lady Jane Grey.

(c) National Geographic Channel

A biography of Mary Tudor (sister of Henry VIII) by David Loades was published in May. You can read my interview with him at – Interview with David Loades – ‘Mary Rose: Tudor Princess, Queen of France, the extraordinary life of Henry VIII’s sister’ .

In June the Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide had two guest articles. The first was by author and creator of The Anne Boleyn Files, Claire Ridgway and was part of her virtual book tour for ‘The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown.’ Claire’s piece commemorated the 479th anniversary of the coronation of Anne Boleyn (Anne Boleyn’s Coronation by Claire Ridgway). The second was a report by Helen Graham Matheson of a literary lunch she attended at Sudeley Castle. The lunch was part of the Queen Katherine Parr Quincentenary celebrations and included a lecture by local historian Tim Porter, followed by presentations by Linda Porter, Susan James and Janel Mueller which were introduced and chaired by Professor Eric Ives (Literary Lunch Day at Sudeley Castle, in honour of the Quincentenary of Katherine Parr’s Birth by Helen Graham-Matheson).

Two historical fiction novels that feature Jane were also published this month. The first, ‘A Dangerous Inheritance’ by Alison Weir is the sequel to her best selling ‘Innocent Traitor.’ ‘A Dangerous Inheritance’ tells the stories of Lady Katherine Grey and Katherine Plantagenet. Further details can be found at A Dangerous Inheritance.

Susan Higginbotham’s ‘Her Highness, the Traitor’ was published at the end of June. The novel looks at the events of July 1553 and their aftermath through the eyes of Jane Dudley, Duchess of Northumberland and Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk. Susan took part in a virtual tour to launch her book. You can read the related articles and interviews at Her Highness, the Traitor Virtual Book Tour.

(c) Source Books

‘Gold: Power and Allure’, the major summer exhibition by the Goldsmiths’ Company opened at the beginning of June. One of the highlights of the exhibition was the ruby locket ring worn by Elizabeth I. I visited the exhibition in July and you can read about my visit at Gold: Power and Allure Exhibition

London Masters Paintings week included two Tudor and Stuart exhibitions at the Weiss and Philip Mould Galleries. Paintings on display included that of Jane Seymour, Edward VI, Henry VIII and Katherine Parr (London Masters Paintings week).

July saw the 459th anniversary of Lady Jane becoming Queen. I wrote a guest article for The Anne Boleyn Files. You can read it at 10th July 1553 – Jane the Quene. Sarah at Sarah’s History Blog wrote a piece asking Why Not Queen Jane?. Lady Jane in her own words looks at the letter she wrote to Queen Mary in August 1553 (9th July 1553 and 10th July 1553).

In August Susan Higginbotham wrote an article about the relationship between Queen Katherine Parr and Lady Jane Grey (Jane Grey and Katherine Parr). She also wrote a hilarious article with tips for writing about Lady Jane Grey, see Fifteen Aids to Grey.

In the author’s note to ‘A Dangerous Inheritance’ Alison Weir mentions new research about Frances Grey that has been carried out by historian, Nicola Tallis. I asked historian Leanda de Lisle for her response to this new research and you can read the details at Differing Opinions about Frances Grey.

The Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide celebrated its 11th birthday in September with a re-design. The first interview at the new site was with Dr Stephan Edwards (see Interview with Dr Stephan Edwards).

The re-enactment of Queen Katherine Parr’s funeral took place at Sudeley Castle on September 9th, with commentary by Dr David Starkey. You can read a contemporary account of the funeral at The original account of Queen Katherine Parr’s funeral and view photos at Sudeley Castle’s Facebook page.

September also saw the potentially most amazing discovery with excavation work at a car park in Leicester. It was announced at a press conference on September 12th that the possible bones of Richard III had been discovered. Here are details from the University of Leicester website Richard III Press Conference.

Details of Dr Anna Whitelock’s new book were announced. ‘Elizabeth’s Bedfellows: An Intimate History of the Queen’s Court’ will be published in May 2013.

It did not feature Lady Jane but Sarah Gristwood’s new book was a fascinating read none the less. ‘Blood Sisters: The Women Who Won the Wars of the Roses’ was published on the 13th September and you can hear Sarah talking about it at the BBC History Magazine September Podcast.

September ended on a very sad note with the death of Professor Eric Ives. I was lucky enough to meet him over lunch with Leanda de Lisle in 2010 and I will never forget their Lady Jane Grey master class. You can read his obituary by Claire Ridgway at The Anne Boleyn Files Eric Ives: An Obituary by Someone He Inspired.

Historian Sarah Gristwood appeared alongside Phillipa Gregory on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour in October to discuss the women of the Wars of the Roses. You can listen to the programme at Woman’s Hour – The Cousins War. Historical Royal Palaces Learning Blog posted a podcast by Lisa Hilton. ‘Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens’ looks at the 20 queens between 1066 and 1503 (HRP – Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens).

A portrait of the 11 year old future Henry VIII and his sisters, Princesses Margaret and Mary was discovered in the National Library of Wales ( Astonishing portrait of the future Henry VIII at 11 found in Aberystwyth – Wales Online). Dr Stephan Edwards reported on a bracelet that possibly belonged to Lady Jane (Some Grey Matter – Lady Jane Grey’s Bracelet?)

The senior surviving descendant of Lady Katherine Grey died this month. You can read The Telegraph’s obituary of Lady Kinloss. Bloody Tales of the Tower became available to buy on DVD from October 15th. The Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide Facebook was created (see Lady Jane Grey Reference Guide).

November saw the launch of ‘Portrait of the Month’ at this site’s facebook page. This month’s portrait was the ‘Lady Jayne/Streatham’ portrait. Visitors kindly submitted their questions and these were answered by Dr Stephan Edwards. You can read the discussion at November Portrait of the Month.

James Peacock attended a talk by Sarah Gristwood and Alison Weir at the Folkestone Book Festival. He wrote a report on their discussion about the women of the Wars of the Roses (see Folkestone Book Festival – A Report on Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses with Sarah Gristwood and Alison Weir).

Dr Stephan Edwards updated his report on The Jersey Portrait

Lady Jane in her own words continued with the prayer she wrote ‘in the time of her trouble’ and her letter to Thomas Harding.

In December the DVD of Dr Helen Castor’s ‘She Wolves: England’s Early Queens’ went on sale.


It was announced that Leanda de Lisle’s next book, ‘Tudor: The Family Story’ will be published on 3rd October 2013. Portrait of the Month was the ‘Yale/Teerlinc’ miniature. You can read the questions and Dr Stephan Edward’s answers at December Portrait of the Month.

Other books published this year that featured Jane included: ‘A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England’ by Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, ‘The Tudors: History of a Dynasty’ by David Loades, ‘Mary I: Gender, Power, and Ceremony in the Reign of England’s First Queen’ by Sarah Duncan, ‘On This Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway and ‘The Tower of London: The Biography’ by Stephen Porter.