Saturday, February 14, 2009

Question from Trezza - Jane Grey and her grandfather

Did Lady Jane Grey ever spend time with her grandfather, Charles Brandon? And were her parents as ruthless with their ambitions for her as is often said?


PhD Historian said...

It is probable that Jane did spend time with her maternal grandfather, but there is no documentation in the archives that I have been able to find (despite exhaustive searching) to tell us when or how much. Brandon died when Jane was perhaps 9 years old, so Jane would still have been spending the majority of her time in the nursery at any of the various Grey residences. For his part, Brandon was often occupied at court or leading armies in France. Thus there was really only very limited time available for them to visit with each other.

The answer to your second question is a bit more complex. To keep it brief, I will just say no, they were not. The senior Greys' ambitions were no more "ruthless" than those of any other social-climbing noble or aristocrat of the period. The difference as far as the Greys are concerned is that is has been useful for later religious propagandists to portray the parents as "ruthlessly ambitious" as a way of creating greater contrast between them and the supposed "innocence" of Jane Grey. The Seymours, the Dudleys, the Boleyns, the Howards, and every other leading family were no less ambitious and "ruthless" than the Greys.

Kathy said...

I was going to post almost exactly the same comments as PhD Historian. Charles and Frances's path crossed at court on occasion in the years after Jane's birth, so I think it is likely that he at least met Jane or saw her in passing. But it's really doubtful that they spent any length of time together because of Charles's other activities for the king.

Anonymous said...

Just adding to the excellent answers above, there is a distinct possibility that she would have spent time with her step-grandmother, Katharine Willoughby (who was younger than JG's own mother), as she was closely connected with Kateryn Parr, but probably too young to have more than a small acquaintance with her grandfather.