England’s Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey

In July 1553, Tudor England was plunged into political and military crisis. Henry VIII’s 15-year-old son, Edward VI, died leaving no male heir. For the first time, a woman would wear the English crown, but who would it be: Edward’s Catholic half-sister Mary, or his Protestant cousin Jane Grey? On his deathbed, Edward cut Mary out of succession and named 16-year-old Jane as his heir. As fierce a Protestant as Edward himself, and already married to the son of the power-hungry Duke of Northumberland, Jane was proclaimed queen and taken to London to await her coronation. But Mary would not accept her disinheritance—and neither would the country. Just nine days later, Jane’s brief reign was over, and seven months later she lost her head on the block. Author and historian Helen Castor will explore this dramatic story and assess Jane’s role in the coup that would ultimately cost her life. The tragic tale of the Nine Days’ Queen is not only a breathless political thriller, but a defining moment in the history of England’s religion, its constitution, and its crown.

Thank you to our cultural co-sponsors: The Oxford & Cambridge Society of New England; Oxford & Cambridge Society of San Diego; The Colonial Dames of America; St. George’s Society of New York; American Friends of Attingham; The American Scottish Foundation 

Lady Jane Grey, c. 1590-1600. National Portrait Gallery, London

Helen Castor ©Chris Gibbions

Helen Castor ©Chris Gibbions

Dr. Helen Castor

English Historian and BBC Broadcaster

Dr. Helen Castor is a medieval and Tudor historian and a BBC broadcaster. She directed studies in History at Sidney Sussex College in the University of Cambridge (where she remains a Bye-Fellow) for eight years before deciding to concentrate on writing for a wider audience. She is the author of Blood & Roses (2006), She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth (2011), and Joan of Arc: A History (2015), which was longlisted for the 2016 PEN America/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. She has presented a range of history programs for BBC radio and television, including documentaries based on her books and a well-received series last year on England’s Forgotten Queen: The Life and Death of Lady Jane Grey. Her most recent book is Elizabeth I: A Study in Insecurity (Penguin Monarchs Series, 2018), and her next will be The Eagle and the Hart: The Tragedy of Richard II and Henry IV, to be published in 2021.


Wednesday, October 7th at 2:00 pm (eastern)

Online via Zoom Webinar

$15, members*; $20 non-members

Free to Heritage Circle members


Rent the recorded lecture to watch at your leisure between Thursday, October 8th and Monday, October 12th

$15 members*, $20 non-members

Free to Heritage Circle members

The rental video will be hosted on the Zoom website and only available for streaming until Monday, October 12th at 11:59 p.m. (eastern).  The video will not be available after that date and time. It cannot be downloaded.