Lady Jane (1986)

 

 

 

 

Director:  Trevor Nunn

Starring:  Henlena Bonham Carter (Lady Jane Grey), Cary Elwes (Guilford Dudley), John Wood (John Dudley, Duke of Nothumberland), Michael Hordern (Doctor Feckenham), Jill Bennett (Mrs. Ellen), Jane Lapotaire (Princess Mary), Sara Kestelman (Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk), Patrick Stewart (Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk), Warren Saire (King Edward VI), Joss Ackland (Sir John Bridges), Ian Hogg (Sir John Gates), Lee Montague (Renard, the Spanish Ambassador), Richard Vernon (The Marquess of Winchester), David Waller (Archbishop Cranmer),  Richard Johnson (The Earl of Arundel).

British film.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a love story, although it does not exactly start out that way.  Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter) is only 15 years old, when her father, the Duke of Suffolk (Patrick Stewart), and her mother arrange with John Dudley, Earl of Northumberland, for Jane to marry Dudley's youngest son, Guildford (Cary Elwes).  Dudley knows that King Edward is dying and he wants to make Jane, Edward's cousin, queen of England over Mary, the eldest child of King Henry VIII. Jane at first resists marriage with all her might, but after a beating and an appeal from Edward to marry Guildford, she consents.  Jane marries and after a while actually falls in love with Guildford.

Not historically accurate, but Dudley schemes and connives to bring Jane to the throne. When Edward does die, Jane and her new husband are taken completely by surprise.  It seems such a tragedy that two innocent people, caught up in forces way beyond their control, are manipulated so that their very lives are put in danger.

 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

When Edward neared death, he did not want Mary to be Queen because she was Catholic. He also felt that Elizabeth was too weak to resist Mary if Mary called for support of Catholicism.  So instead he said that, upon his death, Lady Jane Grey would be the next ruler of England.

Of course, this only set up poor Lady Jane Grey for execution as a dangerous threat to the children of Henry VIII.  Jane rules for a total of 9 days.  

1537 --  born in Bradgate Park, near Leicester, a great-granddaughter of King Henry VII and daughter of Henry Grey, duke of Suffolk and 3rd marquess of Dorset.

1552 --  15 year old Lady Jane goes into an arranged marriage to Guildford Dudley, son of England's powerful lord chamberlain John Dudley, duke of Northumberland.

King Edward VI, her cousin, approves the marriage and signs a deed declaring Lady Jane his successor.

1553, July 6  -- Edward dies; Lady Jane is proclaimed queen, but Edward's half sister, Mary Tudor, raises an army and takes the throne back.  Lady Jane is imprisoned in the Tower of London.

1554, February 12  -- Lady Jane and her husband are beheaded under the charge of treason.

 

 

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