6-9 July 1553: King Edward VI Dies and Lady Jane Grey Becomes Queen

Here’s a little excerpt (bar the footnotes) from my book
John Dudley: The Life of Lady Jane Grey’s Father-in-Law:

Edward VI died in the evening of 6 July 1553, in the arms of his
favourite courtiers Henry Sidney and Thomas Wroth. In his last
moments he told Sidney that he had “elected” the Lady Jane “not
out of spleen unto his sister for her religion, but out of pure love to
his subjects, that he desired they might live and die in the Lord, as
he did.” For the king’s treatment in his last weeks Northumberland
had called in the services of his own physician, as well as a female
quack and an Oxford professor.

Hours after Edward’s death Antoine de Noailles turned up at
court (having heard rumours that the king was no more) and
presented another missive from Henry II. The ambassador
promised the French king’s support for the council’s moves, but he
had chiefly come to warn them against the emperor’s wicked plans:
“I could easily see in their faces the great satisfaction and joy … in
hearing such offers presented on behalf of such a great prince”. –
“They remained silent … because of the pleasure they had
received”. On leaving, Northumberland took Noailles’ hand and
“then suddenly” turned and asked if he could have anything in
writing of what the ambassador had read to them. Of course,
Noailles was far too intelligent for that, and “so I prayed him to
withdraw his request, saying that these offers and many larger ones
were addressed expressly to him and that I would discharge myself
of them whenever it should please him.” John was content with
this and left, “carrying the conversation no further”. After
consulting with the other lords he returned and thanked the King of
France “for all the honest, great, and generous offers”. – The
council’s ensuing letter to England’s ambassador in France was less
optimistic.

The morning after the king’s death John sent his son, Robert,
into Hertfordshire with 300 men to capture Mary. Apparently, he
did this reluctantly and John Gates had to remind him: “But, sir,
will you suffer the Lady Mary escape, and not secure her person?”
– On 8 July the London magistrate was sworn to Queen Jane, and
on 9 July John’s daughter Mary Sidney brought her sister-in-law
Jane to Syon House, now another residence of the Duke of
Northumberland. The two young women arrived by boat. After a
while, Northumberland and Northampton, as well as the earls of
Huntingdon, Arundel, and Pembroke appeared. First Huntingdon
and Pembroke knelt and spoke to Jane, saying, as she remembered,
unwonted flatteries; then Northumberland explained to her that the
king had died and that she was now queen, Edward having left her
the kingdom. Jane was at first reluctant to accept, but the duke’s
detailed oration, held kneeling, seems to have changed her mind,
even if some doubts remained. Finally, Jane also gave a speech in
which she asked of the Lord “such grace as to enable me to govern
… to his glory.” A banquet ensued to celebrate the accession of
Queen Jane.

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About Christine Hartweg

Hi, I'm the author of "John Dudley: The Life of Lady Jane Grey's Father-in-Law" and I blog at www.allthingsrobertdudley.worldpress.com
This entry was posted in 1553, John Dudley, my book, Robert Dudley and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 6-9 July 1553: King Edward VI Dies and Lady Jane Grey Becomes Queen

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