Today in World History: July 19th

Following her week long rule of England, Lady Jane Grey was replaced as Queen of England by Mary I of England on this day in 1553. Following the death of Mary’s sickly younger brother, King Edward VI, and before him his father, Henry VIII, there was no apparent male heir remaining from the Tudor family. Pretenders rose up, and Lady Jane Grey, who herself did not aspire to the throne, was placed there by the Duke of Northumberland, who effectively ruled during her and Edward’s rule. As great-granddaughter of Henry VII and daughter in-law of the Duke, she had a claim to the throne and a strong political ally. The Duke managed to convince Edward to change his will, leaving the kingdom to her, and ignoring the claims of Mary I and Elizabeth I. Grey held the throne for a mere nine days before the lords of England changed sides, deciding Grey’s claims as illegitimate. After her week of rule, Lady Jane Grey was executed on the 12 of February, 1554. At the young age of sixteen or seventeen, she was seen as a victim of the political intrigue that plagued England at the time, and as a Protestant, she was executed by a Catholic. As the majority of England at the time was Protestant, this led to resentment towards Mary, which weakened her rule, causing her to kill the rebellious Protestants, contributing further to her infamy.

“Although it hath pleased God to hasten my death by you, by whom my life should rather have been lengthened, yet can I patiently take it, that I yield God more hearty thanks for shortening my woeful days.”

-Jane Grey

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