Thursday, 29 September 2016

Innocent Traitor

'Innocent Traitor' by Alison Weir embodies the perfect mix between vast historical scope and enlivened Tudor drama. The novel follows "The Nine Day Queen", Lady Jane Grey and details of her short life of just 17 years. Although proven to be a highly gifted person, her intelligence went unappreciated: Her life was lived in constraint and abuse by her scheming father and ruthless mother. The little salvation she had in her own household was her nurse and only source of comfort, Mrs Ellen.

"For when I am in presence either of father or mother; whether I speak, keep silent […] I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly, as God made the world."

From her very birth Jane was perceived as a disappointment, simply for being female, yet her parents had soon pinned their hopes on her marrying Edward VI, King Henry VIII's son and heir. However, once it becomes evident that Edward's illnesses would eventually lead to his death, their choice for Jane changed to Guilford Dudley, who she was made to marry despite her open contempt towards the marriage.

Edward VI's death marked the beginning of Jane's famously short, reluctant reign. In just nine days of her crowning, Mary I was named as the true monarch and Jane was charged with treason. Weir poignantly describes Jane's execution in the Tower of London on 12 February 1554, a measure taken by Mary to prevent Jane from ever usurping her throne.


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