The Early Life of Lady Jane Grey

As a child, she was well educated and learned to speak and read in Latin, Greek, French, and Italian, as well as English. In 1549, when she was 12 years old, John Aylmer became her tutor. Jane spoke glowingly of him, and said he was the complete opposite of her strict parents. Based on some correspondence that Aylmer wrote to Jane, some scholars feel he may have fallen in love with her, while teaching her.

In 1546, when Jane was 9 years old, she was sent to Court under the guardianship of Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth wife and eventual widow of Henry VIII. A few months after Jane arrived, Katherine married Thomas Seymour, the Lord Admiral. Unfortunately Lord Seymour was also fond of romping in the room of the then Princess Elizabeth (daughter of Henry VIII and later Queen of England). When Katherine discovered this she packed up Elizabeth and sent her off to the country. Jane adored Katherine and found love and tenderness with her that had been lacking in Jane's parents. Meanwhile, the Lord Admiral tried to convinced Jane's father to pay enough money for Jane to become a ward of Seymours. In return, Thomas promised to arrange for Jane to be wed to King Edward.

Shortly after this, Katherine was delighted to discover that she was pregnant and Jane went with the couple to stay at their estate in Gloucestershire. It was there that Katherine gave birth to a baby girl, the year was 1548. Unfortunately a week later Katherine died of complications apparently relating to the birth of her daughter. Lady Jane Grey, now 11 years of age, was the chief mourner at Katherine's funeral.

At this point her wardship was taken over by the Lord Admiral, who was now known as Baron Thomas Seymour of Sudeley, Katherine's widower. Seymour attempted to arrange a marriage between Jane and Edward VI, but it was unsuccessful. Rumor had it that Thomas was planning to marry Elizabeth or even Jane, but his ambitions were seen as too extreme for his station. He was the guardian of Jane for just one year, before he was found guilty of treason and executed.

Jane returned to her home in Bradgate and her wardship was once again passed, this time to John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland. This event would deeply change the remainder of her short life.

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland (1502?-1553) (By an unknown artist)


This page last revised on 7-25-03. Maintained by Jane Lambert
Copyright 2003.