Review 2013

The most significant Lady Jane Grey related news of 2013 was the discovery of two letters from July 1553 that mention Jane, by Dr Stephan Edwards.


2013 began and ended with the Wrest Park portrait. It was Portrait of the Month for January and Dr Stephan Edwards led the discussion about whether the portrait is of Lady Jane Grey or not.

Historic Royal Palaces released a series of podcasts about those commemorated on Tower Green. The series included Jane Grey, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, Jane Boleyn and Margaret Pole. You can listen to the podcasts at Historic Royal Palaces.

Historian and author, Elizabeth Norton wrote about Lady Jane at her blog ( Did Lady Jane Grey Influence History?).

In February to mark the anniversary of Lady Jane’s execution, I continued the series ‘Lady Jane in her own words.’ On the 10th of February 1554, Lady Jane debated religion with the Benedictine monk, Dr Feckenham. Their conference was recorded for posterity. On the 11th of February 1554, Jane wrote farewell letters to her sister and father and also composed a farewell message to her father in her prayerbook.

On the 12th February 1554, Jane also wrote a farewell message in her prayerbook to Sir John Brydges, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London and made her speech from the scaffold, moments before her death.

Harley 2342  f. 80 (c) British Library

Harley 2342 f. 80
(c) British Library

The paperback version of ‘Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses’ by Sarah Gristwood was published this month. Sarah very kindly answered my questions in an interview .

(c) Harper Press

(c) Harper Press

March was ‘Women’s History Month’ and I was delighted to be asked to write about Lady Jane As Leader for Sarah’s History blog.

On the 14th March, ‘Queen’s Gambit’, the first in a Tudor trilogy by Elizabeth Fremantle was published. The novel features Lady Jane and tells the story of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

(c) Penguin

(c) Penguin

Also this month Sarah Gristwood gave me a second interview , this time about one of her previous books (that mentioned Jane), ‘Arbella: England’s Lost Queen.’

April’s Portrait of the Month was the Master John portrait. Once thought to be of Lady Jane, it was re-identified as Katherine Parr in 1996. Once again Dr Stephan Edwards answered your questions.

‘The Children of Henry VIII’ by John Guy (which featured Jane) was published towards the end of the month.

(c)OUP Press

(c)OUP Press

In May, Elizabeth Fremantle very kindly answered my questions about her new novel, Queen’s Gambit .

(c) Paola Pieroni

(c) Paola Pieroni

Leanda de Lisle was interviewed by BBC History Magazine about their History Weekend to be held in October.

The radio play, ‘Edward, Edward’ by Abigail Docherty was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. The website described it as follows: ‘Aged just nine years old, Edward VI becomes King upon the death of his father, Henry the VIII. Together with his cousin Jane, Edward tries to negotiate the vagaries of life at court and to find a freedom when every move he makes is watched over by the tenacious Privy Council.’

May also saw the first article in a new series called ‘Events by Place’, which look at places significant with Lady Jane. Durham House was where Jane’s wedding to Guildford Dudley was held on 25th May 1553.

The Daily Telegraph reported on a talk by Dr John Guy at the Hay Festival in which he mentioned some new evidence relating to Lady Jane Grey. ‘The historian said that new information was casting new light on some of the “doctored documents” of the 16th century about her.’(Martin Chilton, The Telegraph).

In June the ‘Lady Jayne/Streatham portrait went on display at Montacute House in Somerset. Acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, it was on display in Room 3 of the Tudor Galleries between spring 2007 and April 2009 and at the entrance to the ‘Lady Jane Grey’ display at the National Portrait Gallery from December 2009 until 15th August 2010.

The best history books of the summer chosen by The Sunday Times Culture Magazine included ‘The Children of Henry VIII by John Guy, calling it an ‘involving study of the bitter feuds of Henry VIII’s offspring.’

July’s Portrait of the Month with Dr Stephan Edwards, was the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Unknown Woman’.

‘Venus in Winter’ by Gillian Bagwell, the story of Bess of Hardwick which features Jane, was published at the beginning of July. Gillian wrote a guest article for this site, ‘Bess of Hardwick and the Tragedy of Lady Jane Grey.’ .

(c) Berkley Group Publishing

(c) Berkley Group Publishing

Events by Place featured Chelsea Manor – Lady Jane is summoned to Syon and Syon Lady Jane Dudley is told she is Queen on 9th July and The Tower of London – Queen Jane takes possession of the Tower on 10th July 1553 and The Tower of London – Queen Jane’s reign ends on 19th July 1553.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

Nasim attended a talk about Katherine Grey by Lynsey Wood, a PhD student at the University of Lancaster.

At the end of the month Dr Stephan Edwards posted a report of his latest research into the Syon portrait, which included the results of the dendrochronological tests on the two Syon portraits of Jane, Assessment of Two Portraits Identified as Lady Jane Grey Dudley in the Collection at Syon House.

Reviews for Leanda de Lisle’s ‘Tudor: The Family Story’ started appearing at the beginning of August. Chatto and Windus kindly donated five copies to be won in a Q&A with Leanda, who answered all the questions submitted. ‘Tudor’ was published on 29th August and in a guest article; de Lisle discussed Was Guildford Dudley a good husband to Jane Grey?

(c) Chatto & Windus

(c) Chatto & Windus

Also published this month was Linda Porter’s ‘Crown of Thistles: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots. The book briefly mentions Jane and you can listen to Linda discuss her new book in the 8th August BBC History Magazine podcast .

I visited Montacute House to view the Lady Jayne/Streatham portrait. It was nice to see Lady Jane take her rightful place amongst the Tudor court.

Room 2 - The Court of Henry VIII Montacute House

Room 2 – The Court of Henry VIII
Montacute House

In September, Gillian Bagwell very kindly answered my questions about her new novel, Venus in Winter.

GB headshot 1

Leanda de Lisle wrote an article in The Express to commemorate the Battle of Flodden. The article emphasized the roles of Queen Margaret of Scotland and Queen Katherine of Aragon.

I attended the launch party for Leanda de Lisle’s ‘Tudor: The Family Story’ at the Philip Mould Gallery in London. It was lovely to meet Helen Castor, David Starkey and Suzannah Lipscomb and to discuss Lady Jane.

Leanda de Lisle was interviewed about ‘Tudor’ on Newstalk Radio. The interview begins 3 minutes and 33 seconds in.

To mark the publication of ‘The Woodvilles: The Wars of the Roses and England’s Most Infamous Family’ in October, Susan Higginbotham wrote a guest article about Thomas Grey (Jane’s great-grandfather).

(c) The History Press Ltd

(c) The History Press Ltd

A three part TV series ‘Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death’ presented by Helen Castor was broadcast this month. Christ Church College, Oxford asked me to mention their special interest event that Helen Castor will be speaking at next year. ‘Politics, Patronage and Prostitution: The Experiences of Medieval Women’ runs from 3-6 April 2014.

In November the most important Lady Jane related discovery of the year came to light, when Dr Stephan Edwards published a report on his website about two letters written in London in July 1553 that mention Lady Jane. He wrote 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).

Leanda de Lisle answered my questions about the Tudors and Lady Jane in an interview .

(c) Harper Collins

(c) Harper Collins

Events by Place continued with the trial of Lady Jane and Guildford Dudley at Guildhall – 13 November 1553.

In December, author, Lauren Johnson, gave an interview about her job as a costumed interpreter, including how she felt playing Lady Jane Grey at the Tower of London.

Costume pic

A final ‘Events by Place’ for the year Tower of London – 17/18 December 1553 when Jane is given permission to walk in the Queen’s garden at the Tower.

December ended with news about the Wrest Park portrait, as Dr Stephan Edwards’ article about the portrait was due to be published in the December issue of the British Art Journal Wrest Park Portrait – A Life Framed in Portraits by Dr Stephan Edwards. Stephan also posted his report on a new portrait he has been researching, The Chawton House/Hever Castle Portrait.