Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery

Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery

by Eric Ives
     
 

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Lady Jane Grey, is one of the most elusive and tragic characters in English history.

In July 1553 the death of the childless Edward VI threw the Tudor dynasty into crisis. On Edward's instructions his cousin Jane Grey was proclaimed queen, only to be ousted 13 days later by his illegitimate half sister Mary and later beheaded. In this radical reassessment, Eric

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Overview

Lady Jane Grey, is one of the most elusive and tragic characters in English history.

In July 1553 the death of the childless Edward VI threw the Tudor dynasty into crisis. On Edward's instructions his cousin Jane Grey was proclaimed queen, only to be ousted 13 days later by his illegitimate half sister Mary and later beheaded. In this radical reassessment, Eric Ives rejects traditional portraits of Jane both as hapless victim of political intrigue or Protestant martyr. Instead he presents her as an accomplished young woman with a fierce personal integrity. The result is a compelling dissection by a master historian and storyteller of one of history’s most shocking injustices.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Presenting a startling dissection of the historically elusive Jane Grey's 13-day reign, British scholar Ives (The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn) decodes the character, actions and motives of the key figures responsible for the fate of the Tudor teenager. He maintains that Jane herself, while precociously intellectual, was the least influential figure in the succession crisis of 1553. Taking center stage is her father-in law, John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, who in Ives's hands isn't England's most powerful man, compelling King Edward VI to add Jane to the succession to make her husband, and Dudley's son, king upon Edward's death. Rather, Ives posits the Dudley-Grey marriage as a routine aristocratic alliance and that Northumberland, as the son of an executed traitor, was obsessively loyal to an independent Edward; Edward initiated Jane and her possible future sons' promotion to achieve his long-term goal of an all-male succession. Moreover, Edward's privy council endorsed Jane's accession because they saw Jane as the rightful queen of England. Turning traditional scholarship on its ear, Ives's radical reinterpretation of one of history's briefest, most puzzling reigns is masterfully researched, authoritative and a difficult but seductive read. Illus., one map. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Upon the death of King Edward VI in July 1553, Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen of England—only to be executed 13 days later. Here, Ives (The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn) addresses the accession crisis of 1553. Although Henry VIII had legally declared both of his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, illegitimate, he then restored them to the line of succession through the Third Act of Succession, which stated that upon Edward's death the crown would pass to Mary and then to Elizabeth if Mary had no male heirs. However, Edward, who as a staunch Protestant did not wish the crown to pass to the Catholic Mary, was probably persuaded to name instead Lady Jane Grey, the Protestant daughter of Henry VIII's sister. Ives works to present Lady Jane Grey as a learned, respected, and highly intelligent woman, providing in-depth analysis as he moves through the narrative and ending by summarizing the aftermath of the brief and tragic reign of one of Britain's least-known sovereigns. VERDICT This thoroughly researched and engrossing historical analysis will appeal both to biography enthusiasts and to those interested specifically in Tudor history or the history of the monarchy. It is a masterly interpretation of the "mystery" of Lady Jane Grey's ascent to the throne.—Carrie Benbow, Toronto P.L., Ont.
From the Publisher
"Written in a scholarly fashion, with an abundance of family trees, maps and a list of titles and offices, this book is a factual, yet compelling, take on a much covered story. A fascinating tale, this will appeal to both scholars and general readers alike." (Family History Monthly, 1 April 2012)

"This is a thoroughly absorbing and ingenious book which will appeal to scholars and general readers alike." (History Today, June 2010)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781405194136
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
10/28/2009
Pages:
392
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A Tudor mystery is brilliantly solved, and the story of one of England's most dangerous crises is thrillingly told… This book, which takes us as close to the truth of these events as is possible, will convince scholars who thought that they knew the story already, and delight general readers."
Susan Brigden, Lincoln College, Oxford

"A highly ingenious solution to the mystery of Jane Grey's thirteen-day usurpation of the throne. Ives's research skills are formidable and will make this book essential, if provocative reading."
John Guy

"Eric Ives has provided the first full-scale account of one of the most surprising sequences of events in the politics of Tudor England. It is an engrossing tale, here presented in incisive style by a scholar who has an instinctive grasp of how to bring the surprises back to life."
Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Reformation, Europe's House Divided, and A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

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Meet the Author

Eric Ives is Emeritus Professor of English History at the University of Birmingham and author of The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004). He has written widely on Tudor history, the history of law, and on the development of modern higher education. In 2001 he was awarded the OBE for services to history and the University of Birmingham.

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