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Queen Jane?

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boognish76 | 12:44 Thu 15th Jan 2004 | History
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Why do we not call Lady Jane Grey - Queen Jane? She had a legitimate claim to the thone (albeit not as strong as Mary's) and she was actually crowned. Yet she is never referred to as Queen Jane and many lists/charts of English monarchs omit her completely. I know nine days is not much of a reign but surely a queen is a queen regardless of how short her reign?


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This seems to be one of the many cases where the victors rewrite history. If you do a Google search on "Queen Jane", and avoid the references to Jane Seymour and to a Bob Dylan song, you will find quite a few historical commentaries which use the term "Queen Jane".
The question is based on a false premise. Most of my reference books list her, and name her as Queen Jane. I always refer to her as "Queen Jane". I do not often find reputable books which omit her completely.
I suggest that you somehow visit Bradgate Park in Leicestershire. It is the birth place of Lady Jane Grey set in a beautiful deer park. I have grown up here near the village of Newtown Linford amongst stories of Lady Jane Grey (my favourite being that her ghost leaves the park at midnight on New Years Eve in her horse and carriage and enters the church at the end of the park a few hours later...used to scare us so much as kids!), one of the schools in the next village of Groby is called Lady Jane Grey Primary School. She perhaps should be called Queen Jane the 1st, but where I'm from, she can simply be referred to as our Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for 9 days...
The true tragedy of Lady Jane Grey is that her being forced onto the throne and her death at the hand of the Catholic sympathisers was through no fault of her own, but a result of her heritage and of the religious fanaticism of her day. It is most likely that she never desired the throne, but was forced into a ultimately deadly course of action by her ambitious parents, and her husband, Guilford Dudley. They were determined to keep the Monarchy a Protestant affair following the death of Edward and to exercise control behind the scenes. The best way to do that was to make their own children King and Queen.

Four days after Edward's death on July 6, 1553, Jane was proclaimed Queen of England. However, Mary, who was the rightful heir to the throne according to Henry VIII's will, was gathering support in Suffolk. She and her followers rode into London nine days later and imprisoned Jane and her supporters. Jane was executed for Treason as were some of her supporters and Mary was crowned the next Queen of England.

Lady Jane Grey, although proclaimed Queen by her family was never crowned, and furthermore was not the rightful heir (though this has never stopped others from usurping the throne!) and most Historians do not count her among the rightful Tudor monarchs. Her story is truly sad, and a lesson for us all to avoid becoming saps to ambitious people.
This 'rightful heir' stuff is another rewrite of history-usually the rightful heir is the one that reigns. But we call Edward VIII (who abdicated) either Edward VIII or the Duke of Windsor so this goes to show the confusion that can happen.
In this case the rightful heir being Mary Tudor was not a "re-write" of history, or anything else. She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, and the sister of Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, his third wife. Henry VIII laid down his wish for the succession in his will, and Mary Tudor was the preferred successor should Edward die without issue. As this was the case then it was proper that Mary should be crowned when Edward died.

Lady Jane Grey was related to Henry VIII thus: Henry's sister Mary's second marriage to Charles Duke of Suffolk bore a daughter, Frances who married Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk and this union produced the Lady Jane.

Now tell me in what way Lady Jane Grey was more entitled to the throne than Mary Tudor? She was pushed into the pretence of monarchy by her scheming parents and in-laws. Mary was away from London at Edward's death, and the conspirators kept the news from her and tried to ambush her on a fruitless errant on which they sent her. She suspected foul play and learned of the truth about Edward and avoided the trap, gathered loyal forces and advanced on London, where the conspirators melted into the mist leaving Lady Jane to take the fall out. See more about the family lineage here.

My point was that if Queen Jane remained Queen she would be seen as the "rightful heir" (purely because she's on the throne). Only when someone is dethroned do you need to wonder if they're not. She was the rightful heir to the throne purely because she obtained it.
Firefly, I understand your point, and think you confuse "rightful" and a pragmatic acceptance of a not "rightful" situation. Lady Jane's proponents argued that Mary was illegitimate and therefore not the rightful heir. This was a lie, and the plot was one to usurp the throne.

Had the plot been successful and Mary shoved out of the way somehow, her tenure on the throne would be no more legitimate, but might have been tolerated. This would not make her the rightful monarch.

I must say, this is a rather brittle and pointless argument as the Monarchy has little relevance in today's society, and something that, in my opinion, would be better without.
How on earth could Henry VIII ' s will have any relevance to the heir after Edward VI ? surely it was either a matter for Edward VI 's will or the rules on inheritance at the time. But hang on hadn't Henry annulled his marriage with Catherine of Aragon and hence made Mary illegitimate ?

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