Lady Jane Grey was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII of England and first cousin once removed to his grandson, the short-lived Edward VI. After the king's death she was proclaimed queen, being given precedence over Henry VIII's daughters, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth. Two weeks after the death of her brother, Mary, who had the support of the English people, claimed the throne, which Jane relinquished, having reigned for only nine days. Jane, her husband Lord Guilford Dudley, and her father, were imprisoned in the Tower of London on charges of high treason. Jane's trial was conducted in November, but the death penalty handed to her was temporarily suspended. In February 1554, Jane's father, who had been released, was one of the rebel leaders in Wyatt's rebellion. On Friday 12 February, Mary had Jane, then aged 16, and her husband beheaded. Her father followed two days later.

It became clear that Edward was dying, and Northumberland was desperate to prevent the throne passing to Edward's half-sister and heir, the Catholic Mary Tudor. Northumberland persuaded the king to declare Mary illegitimate, as well as Edward's other half-sister Elizabeth, and alter the line of succession to pass to Jane.Edward died on 6 July 1553. Four days later, Jane was proclaimed queen. However, Mary Tudor had widespread popular support and by mid-July, even Suffolk had abandoned his daughter and was attempting to save himself by proclaiming Mary queen. Northumberland's supporters melted away and Suffolk easily persuaded his daughter to relinquish the crown.To explain why this 18-year-old girl was beheaded after a 9-day reign as Queen of England, we first have to offer an all-too-brief primer on the political background of Tudor England up to this point.

Jane Grey’s grandmother was Mary Tudor, Queen of France and younger sister of England’s King Henry VIII.Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, did not bear him a surviving son but only a daughter, Mary, born in 1516 (the year before Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle door). When the Pope would not sanction an annulment of the marriage between Henry and Catherine, Henry rejected papal jurisdiction over ecclesiastical affairs in England and founded the Church of England.

My devise for the Succession" by Edward VI. The draft will was the basis for the letters patent which declared Lady Jane Grey successor to the Crown.Edward's autograph shows his alteration of his text, from "L Janes heires masles" to "L Jane and her heires masles".

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