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Ghost Queens: Lady Jane Grey

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey is an oil painting by Paul Delaroche.

On February 12, 1554, sixteen-year-old Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for the crime of high treason. The young woman had been Queen of England for just nine days, and the short-lived monarch haunts The Tower of London even now.

Jane’s troubles started in 1553, after King Edward VI died following a prolonged illness. Rather than allow the throne to pass to Edward’s sister, Mary, Jane’s supporters insisted the crown belonged to her. After all, Edward had named Jane his successor, and unlike Mary or Edward’s other sister, Elizabeth, Jane was untainted by claims of illegitimacy. Jane reluctantly accepted the crown on July 10, 1553. However, support for Mary grew, and after nine tumultuous days, Lady Jane Grey was dethroned. On February 12, 1554, Jane lost her head at Tower Green within the Tower of London. Legend has it her ghost remains.

The “Nine Days Queen,” as Jane is known, has spooked many Tower guards in the centuries following her death. The most famous sighting occurred on February 12, 1957, when two guards spotted a phantom woman gliding along a battlement. The woman closely resembled paintings of Lady Jane Grey, and it was the 403rd anniversary of the ill-fated queen’s death.

Legend has it Lady Jane’s ghost also appears at her birthplace, Bradgate Park in Leicestershire. On Christmas Eve, a ghostly coach, drawn by four headless horses, reportedly races through the park with a headless Jane inside. Her bloodied head rests in her lap. Curiously, a nearly identical legend surrounds Anne Boleyn, an English queen who was beheaded 18 years before Jane.

Today marks the 465th anniversary of Lady Jane Grey’s beheading. Do you think she’ll appear in the Tower of London tonight?



Ghost and Ghouls

by cnkguy
Ghost Queens: Lady Jane Grey

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