Signed “Jane the Quene”, this letter was written from the Tower of London in July 1553, during the brief ‘reign’ of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen.

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Signet Letter from Queen Jane (Lady Jane Grey) – Surrey History Centre (Ref 6729/3/4)

The plot to make Jane queen, instead of the rightful heir Mary, was dreamt up by the dying Edward VI and his chief minister the Duke of Northumberland, to prevent Mary turning England back to Roman Catholicism.

Jane’s letter to the sheriff, justices of the peace and gentlemen of Surrey exhorts them to stand fast in their allegiance to her following the proclamation of her succession.

Within days Jane’s support crumbled and Mary was proclaimed Queen.  Jane and Northumberland were both executed.

The letter is part of the correspondence of the More Molyneux family of Loseley House, one of the richest surviving archive sources for Tudor and Stuart Surrey.

(Lady Jane Grey) by Unknown artist, oil on oak panel, painted after her death, c.1590-1600, Ref. NPG 6804 (Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery under (licence)

(Lady Jane Grey) by Unknown artist, oil on oak panel, painted after her death, c.1590-1600, Ref. NPG 6804
(Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery under (licence)

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