The Marriage of Lady Jane Grey

In 1551, Jane's mother, Frances Grey, lost her two half-brothers. It is believed that they died of influenza. Since Frances' father was already dead, she became the heir to Brandon estates. The title of Duke of Suffolk was passed to her husband Henry and she became the Duchess. In the same year, John Dudley was made the Duke of Northumberland and the chief councilor to King Edward VI. This made Dudley the most powerful man in England short of the King.

In April 1552, Edward became sick with the measles and soon he was stricken with tuberculosis as well. By the following spring Edward was so ill that he was weak and spitting up blood. It became apparent that he would likely die before he ever had the opportunity to produce an heir.

John Dudley was an ambitious man and he realized that if Mary or Elizabeth were to take the crown, Dudley would most certainly lose his high position and possibly even his head. Dudley plotted with Jane's equally ambitious parents to solve this little problem. Dudley started by becoming Jane's ward, and then he convinced the Suffolks that their daughter, the first eligible female in the line of succession to the throne, should marry his last unmarried son, Lord Guildford Dudley. Frances also agreed to forego her own superior claim to the crown in favor of her daughter.

To these ends, Jane was bullied into marrying a young man she hardly knew and becoming the daughter-in-law of a man she hated and distrusted. The wedding took place on May 25, 1553, in the London home of the Northumberland's. The event was a triple wedding with not only Jane's marriage, but the marriage of her younger sister Katherine to Lord Herbert, and finally the marriage of Catherine Dudley, daughter of the Northumberlands to Lord Hastings, son of the Earl of Huntingdon. The event was so rushed that the garments for the weddings had to be borrowed from the royal Master of the Wardrobe. Jane wore a gown of gold and silver brocade embroidered with diamonds and pearls.

Attempted Coronation

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