Grey Family

The Will of Mary Grey

On April 20, 1578, Mary Grey, the youngest daughter of Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, and Frances Brandon, died at her house in St Botolph’s-without-Aldersgate in London. Unlike her older sisters, Jane and Katherine, Mary died a free woman. In 1565, while at the court of Elizabeth I, Mary had married Thomas Keyes, the sergeant porter at court. …

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Myths About Lady Jane Grey’s and Guildford Dudley’s Executions

On February 12, 1554, Lady Jane Grey was executed on Tower Green, shortly after her husband, Guildford Dudley, was executed on Tower Hill. The tragic deaths of the young people have spawned countless books and paintings, several films–and a number of myths. Here are some of them: 1. Philip of Spain, Queen Mary’s fiancé, insisted …

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The Real Adrian Stokes

Following the execution of her first husband, Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk, married a commoner, Adrian Stokes. Stokes has usually been depicted in nonfiction and fiction as a poorly educated boy-toy, who disappeared into obscurity following the death of his wife. The real Adrian Stokes, however, was quite different. To begin with, it is a …

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The Horsey Master Stokes and the Gullible Mr. Marples

Where would the history of Lady Jane Grey and her family be without the intrepid Victorians? I came across this gem today while looking up a reference for Adrian Stokes. It’s from a piece in the 1885-86 Proceedings of the Liverpool Literary and Philosophical Society called “A Noble Family of the Middle Ages” by one …

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Mary Boleyn or Frances Brandon?

In her new book on Mary Boleyn, Alison Weir devotes an appendix to the subject of portraiture, including the identity of the sitter in this well-known painting, usually identified as one of Mary Boleyn: Weir writes that because the sitter was wearing ermine, the portrait is unlikely to have been Mary Boleyn, because ermine was …

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Frances Grey’s Date of Remarriage, Revisited

A while back, I wrote a post about the myths about Frances Grey, Duchess of Suffolk. One of those I mentioned was the date of her remarriage to Adrian Stokes. Recently, as I noted, historians have leaned toward the idea that the marriage took place in 1555, instead of in 1554, just weeks after the …

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Did Jane Grey’s Parents Resent Her Because She Was Not a Boy?

Firmly enshrined in the pages of popular nonfiction about Lady Jane Grey is the notion that her parents resented her and her sisters because they were not sons. Hester Chapman writes that the “Dorsets were disappointed at not having a son” when Jane was born, and goes on  to state that Frances Grey “could not …

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The Death and Burial of Frances, Duchess of Suffolk

In 1559, the chronicler Henry Machyn, a merchant and a parish clerk who faithfully recorded details of heraldic funerals, wrote, “The v day (of) Dessember was bered in Westmynster abbay my lade Frances the wyff of Harec duke of Suffolke, with a gret baner of armes and viij banar-rolles, and a hersse and a viij dosen …

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