Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sisters That Would Be Queen [Mary, Catherine and Lady Jane Grey : A Tudor Tragedy]

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen [Mary, Catherine and Lady Jane Grey : A Tudor Tragedy] is a  2009 book written my Leanda de Lisle.

The Book is about the lives of the three Grey sisters, Jane, Catherine and Mary. Although most people only know about Jane, her sisters also lead very interesting lives.
The First part focusing about Lady Jane Grey/Dudley. Lady Jane Grey was the daughter of Frances Brandon and Henry Grey. She was the grandniece of Henry VIII through her grandmother, Mary Tudor Queen of France. Jane was rather small for her age but she was said to be very intelligent and staunchly Protestant. Duke Northumberland, John Dudley, the Lord Protector, designed a plan that after the death of Edward VI instead of the crown passing to the Lady Mary (who was Catholic and Dudley feared that Mary would try to bring the country back to Catholicism but if he skipped her he'd have to skip the Protestant) and Elizabeth because of their illegitimacy but to the next in line, Lady Jane Grey. He quickly married his son, Guilford, to her as a way of keeping power. When Edward VI died, he proclaimed Jane the new Queen. The people of England thought that the Lady Mary was the rightful Queen so the revolted only after 9 days of Queen Jane's reign. Originally, Queen Mary thought of granting a pardon for Jane and her husband but when a revolt that may have had the intentions of bringing Jane back on the throne, Mary signed her Death warrant. Jane Dudley was beheaded February 12, 1554.

Part Two focuses on Lady Catherine & Lady Mary Grey. Lady Catherine the middle child was born on August 25, 1540. Catherine was wed to was first wed Henry Herbert in a double wedding with her elder sister, Jane, on May 21, 1553. But after the fall of the Grey family, Herbert had his marriage with Catherine annulled. Catherine later wed Edward Seymour sometime in 1560 but she did not have Queen Elizabeth's approval which would later prove disastrous. Catherine hid the secret of her marriage for sometime even after she became pregnant. She pleaded with Robert Dudley but he sent her away and the next day he told the Queen. The Queen, angered by the news, sent Catherine to the Tower of London, her husband joined her after he had finished his studies in France. Catherine bore 2 children  (both born in the tower), Edward & Thomas. In 1562, the marriage between Catherine Grey and Edward Seymour was declared annulled. Catherine was moved to Cockfield, Oxford. She died on January 16 1568 of consumption.

Mary Grey was the youngest and also the smallest. She was said to be a dwarf with a hunchback and 'very ugly'. Mary was placed under house arrest in 1565 for having married Thomas Keys without permission of the Queen (the same as her sister). After Keys death in 1572, she was released and occasionally allowed to visit court. Mary died childless, aged 33.

I give this book a 3/5 I liked this segment because if doesn't antagonize Frances and Henry Grey. In the Tudor Era, what Frances and Henry did to their children was not so uncommon.  Personally, I decided to listen to the audio book rather than to read it to save me the trouble. I really disliked the reader, maybe it's because I'm used to things in my way such as the way she said Jousting she pronounced it as JOO-sting like I say it as JOW-sting. Indeed I think some of the books possibly ratings were deducted because of this. The book itself was fine. There was VERY good detail on Mary and Catherine's life but seeing as the book as joined with Jane's life (whose life would have made a better book on it's own), which was rather a general outlook than a detailed one. If you are looking for a book on Jane Grey, I suggest you read a more thorough book on her life than this. But if you would like an in-depth look on the two forgotten Grey sisters this book is a great help.

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