Lady Jane Grey is often known as "The Nine Days Queen" due to the short length of her reign. She was born in 1537 and was a great-granddaughter of Henry VIII thoruhg her mother, Frances Brandon, who was Henry's sisters daughter. Frances was by all accounts something of a monster, aggressive and domineering, and she felt Jane to be too kind and gentle and tried to harden her with regular whippings. When she was nine Jane was sent to live with Katharine Parr, Henry VIII sixth wife. This was a happy period in her life. Jane was an extremely intelligent girl and had a good education and a fierce intellect. After Katherine's death her husband, Thomas Seymour, tried to arrange a marriage between Jane and the then King, Hernys son, Edward IV but without success. Edward, though King, was still very young and his Protector was Seymours brother. However, John Dudley, the Duke of Northumberland seized power and the Seymours were executed. Jane's mother Frances then began to negotiate a marriage to Dudley's son Guilford. It is difficult sometimes for us to understand that women, more often than not, did as their parents told them without question - hence Jane, though she did not want it for herself, agreed to the marriage.
Edward IV was always a sickly child and in 1553 he died, aged 15. He had left a will naming Jane as his heir, but the legality of the document was questionable. Mary, Henry's first daughter by Katherine of Aragon was the rightful heir, but she was a staunch Catholic - Edward, as a Protestant, did not want her to become Queen. Northumberland, along with members of the Council and her family told Jane that she must accept the Crown. At first she refused, angering those assembled. Her parents reminded her of their duty to them but although Jane knew that what was happening was wrong, she felt utterly powerless to resist and realised she was nothing but a pawn. She asked God to tell her what to do, and, as she received no answer, accepted the Crown. She was proclaimed Queen on July 10th. Unfortunately, although Northumberland tried to capture Mary, she escaped and the people supported her - on July 10th she rode into London, triumphant, and she was delcared the rightful Monarch. Jane and her husband Guilford were imprisoned in the Tower. Mary was, against the advice of her councillors, lenient on Jane. However, after Wyatts Rebellion, a protestant uprising against Mary involving Jane's father, the order was given for her execution. She accepted her fate gracefully and peacefully and was executed on February 12th 1554. She was 16.
Jane's father was executed a week later. Her mother, Frances and married a man half her age three weeks later. She recieved a pardon and lived at Court with her two other daughters. She apparently acted as if Jane had never existed.