The shortest reign in English history lasted only nine days. It was of 15 years old Lady Jane Dudley (former Grey), who became a Queen against her wish. Who was forced to accept the crown in the result of treason that her own parents and in-laws plotted against the rightful Queen Mary (daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, known later as Bloody Mary).
Lady Jane born in 1537 was brought up in home of her cold, unloving parents, Lady Frances Brandon – niece of King Henry VIII, and Henry Grey, 3.Marquess of Dorset, and later Duke of Suffolk. Her parents disappointed that she is not a boy, who could carry their name to the future and be the heir of their House, were very strict with her. Her mother never show any affection to her daughter, criticise her for everything, never praised but hit when she felt she need to be disciplined.
But Jane wasn’t completely alone in her miserable life. She had Mrs Ellen, her nurse since early days of life to the last one. Mrs Ellen loved Jane like her own daughter, always supported her, always her friend and defender. Although, she could do nothing to prevent Lady Jane’s sad end.
“Innocent Traitor” is a beautifully written story of Lady Jane’s life. Alison Weir skilfully created wonderful life memoir based on history. There is many narrators, mostly women (a man’s memoir shows up in second half of the book), who tells us their story and emotions accompanying events they witness. Those narrators are: Lady Jane Grey, her mother Frances Brandon, Princess Mary Tudor, Princess Elisabeth Tudor, Queen Jane Seymour, Queen Katherine Parr, Mrs Ellen and later Jane’s father in law John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland – the man who caused the still and was beheaded for it. All of them show different point of view, which is beneficial for the book.
What I liked the most and admired in Lady Jane, was her passion for books and knowledge. She was well educated and enjoyed every minute of her lessons. She was also very religious, and till the end of her days did not betrayed her protestant faith, which could save her life if she converted to a catholic.
I read “Innocent Traitor” with great pleasure and would recommend it to everyone who likes history.