Jane Grey’s Farewell to her family

6804,Lady Jane Dudley (née Grey),by Unknown artist

On the eve of Jane’s execution she drafted her last letter to her father and sister, stressing that they were to advertise their innocence over the whole matter and they had been pushed by ‘others’ to accept the crown.

“Although it pleases God to hasten my death by one by whom my life should rather have been lengthened; yet can I so patiently take it, that I yield God more heartly thanks for shortening my woeful days, than if all the world had been given into my possession, with life lengthened at my own will. And albeit I am assured of your impatient dolours redoubled manifold ways, both in bewailing your own woe, and especially, as I hear, my unfortunate state; yet, my dear father (if I may without offence rejoice in my own mishaps), herein I may account myself blessed, that washing my hands with the innocence of my fact, my guiltless blood may cry before the Lord: Mercy to the Innocent!”

To her sister, she was more hostile, warning her against accepting the Catholic Faith and that she would burn in Hell if she would:

“I have sent you, good sister Katherine, a book, which though it be not outwardly trimmed with gold, yet inwardly it is of more worth than precious stones. It will teach you to live it will learn you to die … Trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life for as soon as God will goeth the young as the old. Labour always and learn to die. Deny the world, defy the devil, and despise the flesh.”

Jane had been prepared to die. She was a fierce believer in martyrdom,, idealism over pragmatism. Katherine on the other hand, likely convinced by her mother, accepted the Catholic Faith as the remaining members of her family.

Sources:

  • Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery by Eric Ives
  • Tudor by Leanda de Lisle
  • Sisters Who Would be Queen by Leanda de Lisle
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