Helen Castor tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, the first reigning queen of England. Three days into Jane's reign the clock is ticking. Mary Tudor is determined to seize power.
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The Tudors are historical superstars,
our most famous Royal Dynasty.
But there is one Tudor monarch who's been all but forgotten -
Lady Jane Grey was a teenager thrust onto the throne,
only to lose her crown after just nine days.
She was the first woman to be proclaimed Queen of England,
but few would recognise the name Queen Jane.
I'm Helen Castor, and over three episodes I'm going to take
a forensic look at Jane's story.
It is a Tudor thriller, an epic tale of family conflict...
..ambition and betrayal.
The death of a King covered up
and a country torn between two faiths.
Our protagonists include the manipulative Duke...
..the wronged princess...
..and the God-fearing 15-year-old
who finds herself caught between them,
and pays with her life.
I'm going to track down original sources,
written as the drama unfolds.
This is the really exciting bit of the job.
I'll talk to expert colleagues.
I've been in this game for 40 years,
and I have to tell you, there is no trickier Tudor subject
than Jane Grey.
And I'll visit the places where Jane once walked
during the nine days that she reigned.
In this episode I'll unpick the story of the next five days
of Jane's reign, and the dramatic events that will decide
the identity of England's Queen and its religion.
It's 12th July, 1553.
Jane Grey is Queen,
but Mary Tudor intends to do everything in her power to seize the crown.
Jane is in the Tower of London,
Mary's at Kenninghall in Norfolk.
Jane has the support of the Privy Council,
the whole machinery of state,
and has the Tower's weapons at her command.
Mary has none of these things.
No-one believes she's got a chance.
She's a woman with a household in East Anglia
that's full of local yokel Catholic gentry men,
you know, nobody who's got any political experience.
And, instead, Lady Jane Grey is
in the Tower of London, of course, the great fortress of the city,
the armoury, the munitions,
you know, everything is under the control of Lady Jane Grey
and the Duke of Northumberland.
No-one rates Mary's chances whatsoever.
Until just a few months ago,
Mary, a devout Catholic, was heir to the throne, but her brother,
Edward VI, who was determined that the country should remain Protestant
had secretly changed the succession in favour of their cousin, Jane Grey.
When Edward died, a powerful group of noblemen,
led by the Duke of Northumberland,
declared Jane Queen before Mary could protest.
On 12th July, it seems as though
Jane and her supporters have won.
Jane is confidently signing letters, "Jane the Queen".
But Mary, at her manor of Kenninghall, has also been sending out letters -
hers signed, "Mary the Queen" -
summon her loyal subjects to resist Jane
and to rally in support of her own claim to the throne.
And by 12th July,
this call to arms, issued by a lone woman,
is beginning to work.
Mary's forces are able to gather together very quickly,
one, because they're local,
and, two, because they believe in her cause.
And this is why she's gone to East Anglia in the first place,
because she's also a major landowner there,
so she's pulling all the threads of her...
possible roots of allegiance together.
Some of them would have been there because they had an obligation,
being tenants of Mary, probably a lot of them are Catholics,
but even if they aren't Catholics, they believe
she is the rightful claimant to the throne.
From farm workers to local landowners,
men begin to arrive at Kenninghall to show their support.
On the morning of the 12th Mary makes the bold decision
to relocate her gathering forces, of around 600 at this point,
South East to Framlingham Castle in Suffolk.
Why would Mary take such a risk?
And how does she manage the perilous journey with such limited resources?
-Hello, Helen, nice to meet you.
-Lovely to meet you.
Jane's in the Tower,
Mary's in Norfolk with her cobbled-together forces,
and she has to move from Kenninghall to Framlingham.
How did armies move with all their gear?
How exposed were they on the road?
They'd certainly be visible.
Moving around the countryside, would draw attention.
And the problem is, she wants to move quite fast,
so she's not got a huge baggage train with her,
so men are living off the land,
and because they don't have carts and things with them,
they're most likely wearing everything that they're going to be needing.
If we're looking at the sort of people who are coming out
to support Mary, then we're looking at local militias,
we're looking at people who are wearing maybe Grandad's old armour
from Bosworth, or maybe not even as good as that.
So, what was on their backs?
Well, this is called a brigandine,
it's like, almost like a modern army flak vest.
Then of course we have the most important part of the body's armour - your head.
So, this is an armet, it's a very complicated continental helmet.
You can't afford one of those if you're a local yokel,
so, I'm afraid, if you are someone of the lower orders
you're going to be equipped with a simple skullcap, like this.
-A tin can.
-Simply a tin can, a bit sturdy, not a thing of beauty.
And, more importantly, doesn't really protect the face,
or especially the throat.
Medieval and Renaissance warfare is brutal,
it's up close, it's very, very... It's a tough guy's world.
Mary is leading her men over open country in active rebellion against Jane...
..to a 12th-century fortress that formed part of her East Anglian estates.
Why did Mary come here to Framlingham?
Well, she was growing out of Kenninghall.
I mean, Kenninghall was a manor house,
but, you know, forces were now gathering in several thousand,
and so, it wasn't really a place from which to
mobilise a force or muster a force, and of course it wasn't a place
where she could make a statement of her intent.
Of course she'd by now proclaimed herself Queen,
so she needed a fortress, she needed a base from which to rally forces,
but also get ready to engage for battle.
And it's well situated, looks over the East Suffolk countryside.
It would be a place where she can keep an eye out for forces from London,
she could rally her troops,
and it was somewhere which could be defended.
Mary's right to be on the lookout for troops from London
as she makes her dash to Framlingham, because
Northumberland is in the Tower readying an army to confront her.
The 12th July is a critical point in Jane's nine-day reign,
with events moving quickly on both sides.
Local merchant Henry Machyn describes the ammunition and weapons
he saw being brought into the Tower on the 12th.
He recorded, "Three carts full of all manner of ordnance,
"such as great guns and small bows,
"bills, spears, Moorish pikes,
"armour, arrows, gunpowder and stakes,
"a great number of cannonballs."
With so much sophisticated weaponry,
Jane and Northumberland have no reason to be concerned,
so they take their time responding to Mary's challenge.
He would have thought, "Well, you know,
"she's got lots of peasants on her side.
"I have the guns,
"I have the cavalry,
"I have," you know, "the power that matters."
Northumberland was the puppet master who'd placed Jane on the throne -
the most powerful man in England,
supremely confident in his abilities.
He was clearly an exceptionally skilled politician.
He must have had outstanding
interpersonal skills, as we would say today.
He was non-titled,
he was not hereditary nobility.
Through his own sheer ability,
he had worked his way up and became Admiral of the Fleet.
He had served in the military and put down rebellions in the north.
He was clearly someone who had enormous ability as a bureaucrat,
as a governor, as a military leader, as a politician.
And I think we need to admire him to a certain extent for that.
Northumberland has focused on securing the Tower and the machinery of state.
It suggests that at this point he doesn't see Mary as a serious threat.
Somebody said at the time about Northumberland,
he despised the plans of a mere woman, meaning Mary,
but he wasn't alone in that.
They all underestimated her,
and that was Northumberland's biggest mistake.
-That he had Westminster blinkers on...
..that he thought if he controlled all the levers of power
at the centre, everything else would just fall into place.
Exactly. But she was already gathering forces
but, to his mind, not very impressive forces.
They were largely the common people, ordinary people.
They weren't the great nobles.
The great nobles, on the whole, all supported Jane.
He wasn't expecting Mary to decide to raise a standard
and go to battle - that was a huge and tremendous shock,
not just to him, but to the whole Privy Council,
they simply couldn't believe it and were absolutely horrified.
And raising forces was a key question in all of this, wasn't it?
Because the Crown didn't have a police force
or a standing army at its disposal.
Yes, I think that's one of the interesting things about
the English monarchy, they didn't have armies of their own.
Certainly you could pay for them,
and Jane did offer double the normal rate
to anyone who was prepared to fight for her against Mary.
Despite offering high wages, Jane's camp struggles to attract an army,
but people are joining Mary by choice.
Why do they flock to her, even though she's the underdog?
Why do so many ordinary people believe in her claim to the crown?
To find answers, we need to go back to her childhood.
What was Mary's life like in the years before
-the succession crisis of 1553?
-Well, how long have you got?
She had an epic life.
I mean, Mary's life to be characterised by fortune and adversity.
I mean, it swung from royal favour to profound neglect.
She was born, of course,
the first child of Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII,
and was described at the time as a token of hope.
But then, of course, it all changed with Henry becoming infatuated with
Anne Boleyn, and then the 20-year marriage between Mary's parents
was, of course, as we all know, brought to an end
with the break with Rome. And with the birth of Elizabeth,
Mary basically went from being a princess to a royal bastard.
She became the King's illegitimate daughter.
She was stripped of her status, she became Lady Mary.
Absolutely extreme turn of events.
When Henry divorced Catherine and then executed Anne Boleyn,
Mary and Elizabeth were both declared to be illegitimate
and cut from the line of succession.
But later, Henry made clear that
if his only son, Edward, were to die childless,
he still wanted his daughters to inherit the throne.
During Henry's reign, by his will and by Act of Parliament in 1544,
the succession is Edward, to be followed,
in the event of Edward not having any heirs himself,
first by Mary and then Elizabeth.
So although both Mary and Elizabeth were actually regarded as
illegitimate, they're back in the succession.
And so it was quite easy for Mary to say
"Look, I am the rightful heir under my father's will."
That was approved not just once by Parliament,
but in two Parliamentary Acts.
And she was simply, you know, defending her right.
But Edward, on his deathbed,
removed his half sisters from the succession again,
and undid what all of England considered the natural order.
I mean, basically Edward thought that, just like Dad,
he had the right to dictate his own succession settlement.
He was absolutely determined that he was going to exclude
his two half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the succession
because he maintained that they were illegitimate,
and, of course, they had been proclaimed as bastards
by Parliament, by Edward's father.
But as far as the public were concerned, Mary had the blood claim
to the throne, no matter what Westminster said.
And there was another reason just as powerful.
And of course, religion came very much into it,
because Edward had brought in a Protestant settlement
with his advisers, and was himself a bigoted Protestant.
And of course, Mary was a Catholic.
Following on from his father's break with Rome,
Edward had been intent on ridding the country of Catholicism.
Church walls were whitewashed,
statues and stained glass destroyed,
and the Prayer Book was radically changed.
I think it's difficult to overstate how dramatic this change would have been.
Religion was so fundamental a part of people's lives.
To make even the smallest change in that would really
undermine people's sense not only of faith, but of normalcy,
of the sense in which there was something that
they could depend on and trust.
If we take, for example,
the removal of the sung Masses for the souls of the dead.
If you've always been taught that in order for your loved one's soul
to go to heaven you have to have this sung Mass,
to suddenly have that taken away from you,
well, not only do you worry about the soul of your family member,
your loved one, but you start to wonder whether or not that was
necessary in the first place, who gets to decide these things?
Is there any sort of foundational basis that you can trust
in order to base your belief?
So, your sense of the world, this life and the next one,
is being changed before your very eyes.
I think it's important to keep in mind that it's not just changes in
the practice of religion, but changes in people's very mind-sets.
They are being told what to think and what to believe,
and whenever you attempt to do that, you're going to create division,
and that's exactly what we see happening.
In July 1553, the choice the country faced was not just Jane or Mary,
it was Protestant or Catholic.
Mary had no intention of abandoning her devoutly held beliefs.
She had carried on celebrating the Catholic Mass even while her brother
was alive, and that had caused a deep rift between them.
We know this because, unusually for a King, Edward tells us himself.
He kept a diary. Not a record of his innermost thoughts,
but a chronicle of the events of his own reign.
Edward wrote his diary between 1547 and 1552.
It's a remarkable document that gives us glimpses of Mary's past,
and helps explain what sort of opponent she was.
This is the really exciting bit of the job.
I've read the text of Edward's diary before,
but I've never seen the original manuscript until today.
Thank you so much for bringing this.
-It looks like it's holding up well.
Oh, so it's got some of his... These letters to start with.
Some of his letters at the very beginning.
This is a letter in Edward's hand.
And this is the beginning of his diary.
"18th August, 1550.
"My Lord Warwick was made General Warden of the North,
"and Mr Herbert..."
"A shilling fell from ninepence to sixpence,
"a groat from threepence to twopence..."
"I wrote back a letter saying that I marvelled that he could refuse" to sign that Bill...
It's an extraordinary thing to read the King's own record
of his daily life, in his own handwriting.
And to touch the paper that Edward touched is spine-tingling.
The diary makes clear Mary's strength of character
in resisting Edward's Protestant reforms.
Mary becomes this figure of opposition.
Edward, young brother, is going,
"Right, we're going to really kick on with the Reformation."
Mary is defiant in her Catholicism,
and so brother and sister have these really full-on spats.
"18th March, 1551.
"The Lady Mary, my sister, came to me at Westminster."
She came, but she came with a show of defiance.
She rode through London with 130 attendants,
each one holding a rosary as a sign of their outlawed Catholic faith.
Edward challenged his sister directly...
..and the two had terrible arguments.
Mary's saying to Edward, you know, "You're my little brother.
"I'm not listening to you, I'm not taking orders from you."
And he's saying to Mary, his older sister, "But I'm the King.
"You need to stop saying Mass," and Mary's like, "Absolutely not."
And massive pressure's being put on her.
Some of her household officers are imprisoned for refusing
to stop saying the Mass, you know, in Mary's household,
and it really does get pretty emotional.
But of course, it has a much bigger, dangerous, you know, context,
which is Catholic versus Protestant, what is the future going to be?
Protestantism has marginalised and oppressed Mary,
but her brother's death is her opportunity to claim the throne,
and she's determined to grasp it.
She had survived the break with Rome,
she had survived her brother's Reformation, and I believe
she was intent on surviving this latest crisis as well.
She saw this as her, kind of, divine duty.
You know, God was preserving her through these years
in order to bring about the Catholic Restoration.
And in the attempt to achieve her goal,
Mary had two important advantages.
While some people had embraced the new Protestant faith,
large parts of the country were still attached to traditional forms
of worship, and in Mary they saw a champion of the old ways.
Not only that, but most people in England saw Mary as
the rightful heir, while Jane was barely known.
Not a Queen, but a usurper of the Tudor line.
And, as a result, increasing numbers of both Catholics and Protestants
were rallying to Mary's cause.
As Mary's support grows,
Jane's camp are still planning their countermove.
In the Tower, the Privy Council have chosen Jane's father, Henry Grey,
a Duke with no track record as a military leader,
to command the army against Mary.
Such a bad idea.
He'd no military training, no military experience.
No ability at anything very much.
No, I mean, Henry VIII had deliberately excluded Henry Grey
from the Garter for year after year after year after year.
Henry VIII was a good judge of character,
he knew what men had ability and what men did not.
Jane's father had ambition, but no discernible talent.
I think he had ambition...
..and no ability, and no desire to work toward that ambition.
He wanted it handed to him on a plate.
The Order of the Garter was a chivalric honour given by the King,
and Henry VIII hadn't thought Henry Grey much of a soldier.
Now, some time during the 12th, there was a change of plan.
Some accounts say that Jane refused to let her father leave London
because she was afraid it was too dangerous.
Some say that Henry Grey had begun to have fainting fits.
Perhaps he was ill, or perhaps the pressure was taking its toll.
Jane decides to keep her father back in safety.
Instead, she confirms that Northumberland will replace her father on the battlefield.
Of course, what Jane wanted was that her father,
who'd been originally given the job, shouldn't do it.
Jane did not want her father to risk his life and career by,
you know, riding out on a risky expedition.
And so they sent Northumberland instead.
Northumberland was quite reluctant to go, of course, because
he knew that if he left London things could, you know, collapse.
In that specific sense, then,
in deciding that Northumberland must lead the army instead of her father,
could we argue that Jane was the architect of her own fall?
Well, you could, but it wouldn't have been a conscious decision
because she wasn't thinking of it in that sort of way.
I mean, we still have to come back to the fact that Jane is really being used here by the men.
I mean, she is Queen, but only in a titular sense.
In sending Northumberland instead of her father,
you could argue that Jane's made a rational choice.
Northumberland's the most experienced soldier on the Council,
clearly the best man for the job,
and she doesn't want her father to stick his neck out
and be the person to arrest Mary.
But it turns out that Jane's decision to let Northumberland
leave London is a fatal error.
Northumberland can't be everywhere at once,
and he can't hold this coup together.
Had he had able lieutenants,
and clearly Henry Grey was not that able lieutenant,
things might have held together a little bit longer,
but there was just no-one there.
All of the - quote - "good" people he took with him going north,
and we were left with old...
essentially older men,
people of experience but people who were not themselves known
to be skilful politicians.
They were administrators but they were not politicians,
and what was needed was a good politician,
and that was Northumberland.
For good or ill, Jane has made up her mind.
Northumberland is to lead the attack on Mary.
He begins to position his pieces on the battlefield.
What was Northumberland's plan before he set out from London,
in terms of what forces he was going to get
and what he wanted to do with them?
Well, we place him here in London.
At this stage, Mary - he knows - is in Framlingham.
-Here in Suffolk.
And he's not overly concerned with time at this stage.
Time, he thinks, is on his side,
because he and the Privy Council
hold all the cards.
They have control over the levers of power,
most of the military force, including the artillery
in the country, are in his hands,
and he cannot have believed that Mary can actually put
a very effective military force in the field.
Therefore, he needs to move slowly but surely
to the west of her position, and not come in from the south.
If he'd actually marched through Chelmsford towards her,
it would have given her the opportunity to leave
by the northern route, as it were.
So his plan is to move towards Cambridge,
where he's going to link up with his son,
and therefore they will effectively put themselves as a blocking force,
not allowing Mary to move in a westerly direction.
But she also can't move east either,
because the Privy Council has ordered the Royal Navy,
or at least six of the major warships of the Royal Navy,
to move up and block the coast,
preventing her from escaping,
but also any Imperial forces from aiding her.
He has pretty much got her, in his mind, or will soon have her,
in the two jaws of a vice.
Strategically, Northumberland has the upper hand,
and there's no doubt his forces are armed in a way Mary's men can only dream of.
What kind of weapons were their soldiers going to be able to wield?
Jane's very lucky. She has all the arms and armour in the Tower of London.
There's a huge national depository of pikes
and bills and swords and bows and arrows.
There might be a million arrows stored in there.
But this is going to be a battle at close quarters,
so we are looking at the swords.
It's a cut and thrust sword,
but this is really designed for going straight in.
See here, this is the tin can opener of the 15th and 16th century.
This is the poleaxe.
This is going to go through armour, this is going to cut flesh,
that's going to stab through any gaps.
But again, it's a complicated weapon and it's an expensive weapon,
and it shows that you're somebody of a decent rank.
You are a man at arms, you've probably got a decent bit of armour.
Some of Jane's more ordinary troops, you are looking at things like this.
A glaive with a nasty fluke on it, so you can really push that home,
and there's a secondary cutting edge there.
We are getting into a very, very brutal,
very, very nasty style of fighting.
You can see that in the remains of soldiers who've been excavated
from battlefields across the medieval world.
So, should we imagine either Jane or Mary having any firepower at their disposal?
Well, Jane's got the Tower of London arsenal.
We know there are muskets, arquebuses,
and we know there's gunpowder and shot.
Mary would have been reliant on anything that's local.
They're few and far between, to be quite honest,
compared with what Jane can bring to bear.
But, of course, they still need training,
they still need people who know, understand.
They still need people who understand how to not only use
but make gunpowder as well. It's a rare substance in England.
Basically, if you have more gunpowder and more cannons
than anybody else, then technically you've won.
You can bring more stuff to bear.
Finally, at about eight in the evening on 12th July,
Mary arrives at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk
and is greeted by an overwhelming display of support.
We know from accounts that when she arrives at Framlingham
the commons and gentry, you know,
several hundred thousands are gathered in the Deer Park,
which must be a kind of heartening experience,
to come here and see the local people here ready to greet her,
ready to defend her.
This was going to be the base, if you like,
from which she was going to engage the enemy,
so this was going to be really important for the next few days.
So, to come here to a fortress, a stronghold,
with an army camped outside and to feel that she was embedded
within the support of the local community.
Really important. I think she could probably, for the first time,
maybe take a small sigh of relief,
and then obviously galvanise herself, get ready to galvanise
the army, ready for what would seem to have been the impending battle.
It's remarkable that, in a matter of days,
Mary has been able to rally such substantial forces.
No-one expected Mary to be so organised.
Mary had never shown this sort of capacity
for organising, essentially,
not only really anything of great substance,
but also military force in that amount of time.
Mary ended the 12th in a far stronger position than she had begun it.
The next 24 hours would prove critical.
On the morning of the 13th,
there a frenzy of activity at Durham House on the banks of the Thames.
Northumberland's army are about to ride out to Framlingham,
and they are a formidable sight.
He's got very good reason to be confident.
The military force that she has available to her, in his mind,
is probably armed peasants.
They will not be that effectively armed.
He, on the other hand, has a much more experienced and well-armed force.
Probably the total size of the force that he puts together
is about 3,000 strong. And while that doesn't sound that many,
2,000 of those soldiers are cavalry -
men at arms who are heavily armoured.
In battle they would have, you know, looked almost like a tank.
These are men clad from head to foot in armour,
armed with lances and swords and maces, and they could do
an awful lot of damage against poorly-armed peasants.
That's the sort of battle he's expecting, but just in case,
he's also going to take along a very powerful artillery force
of at least 30 pieces of cannon, and he must believe at this point,
or at least he DOES believe at this point,
that Mary is going to have no cannon to oppose him with.
And so all the cards at this early stage seem to be in his favour.
As Northumberland prepared to leave,
he took one last opportunity to address the Council.
He spoke on behalf of, "The whole army that now goes forth
"for the establishing of the Queen's Highness."
He reminded them of the "Sacred, holy oath of allegiance
"made freely by you to this virtuous lady."
"Jane," he said, "was only there by your and our enticement."
And he warned them that "If you mean deceit, God will revenge the same."
reported by someone who was in the Tower of London when he made it,
betrays the fracture lines in Jane's Council.
This is an impassioned reminder that they signed their names
to the device that put her on the throne, and they must stand by it.
As Northumberland leads his army through the streets of London,
the crowds gather to see him pass...
..but the cheering he expects doesn't come.
And outside the capital,
Northumberland can expect an even more hostile reception.
Northumberland, remember, is very unpopular in the country.
Why? Cos he's the guy who put down the popular revolts of 1549
using German and Genoese mercenaries.
Four years earlier, Northumberland had been dispatched to East Anglia,
the very same place he's heading now,
to put down a rebellion of local people with his well-armed troops.
Yes, it all kicked off in East Anglia,
and this was described as Kett's Rebellion, led by Robert Kett.
What motivates someone to go out and protest, just like today,
is a variety of factors, but here in particular,
it was socioeconomic factors, it was people were really cross about
large landowners enclosing land, and people just had had enough.
People felt like they weren't being listened to,
they went being respected, all of that.
And so when a rebellion kicks off, it is always dangerous.
Northumberland's response was vicious.
Ringleaders were rounded up and brutally executed.
When he reaches Framlingham,
he'll be facing people who remember the rebellion...
..people who have reason to hate him,
who've joined Mary because they have a score to settle.
Mary has now been at Framlingham for 24 hours,
and gradually events are beginning to swing in her favour.
She looks out into the deer park, and she sees local gentry,
commons gathering, and of course those people will become her army.
For her, she believes that those will be the people
who will secure the throne for her.
You know, and these are unprecedented times.
I mean, here we have a woman fighting for the throne,
and the gathered forces are looking at her as their military commander,
as a woman. So, completely unprecedented times,
and they're happy to potentially lay down their life
in defence of her claim to the throne.
So, you know, the stakes could not have been higher.
Momentum is moving to Mary all the time,
happening so rapidly over days, sometimes even hours,
so decisions are having to be made on a split second.
You know, you could almost count from morning to afternoon
the vast increase in the number of people that are moving north
to surround Mary, to protect her, to support her, and to promote her.
Grassroots support for Mary begins to have a surprising effect
on the higher ranks of society -
people who have, until now, been loyal to Jane.
The gentry are beginning to move to her.
We have a lot of people with knighthoods, you know,
the sort of Sirs of the realm.
And there's one event in Ipswich, 20 miles from Framlingham,
which appears to confirm the tide is decisively turning against Jane.
It involves a local dignitary,
one who's well-respected in East Anglia, Sir Thomas Cornwallis.
Sir Thomas Cornwallis is the Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk.
He's backing Jane, the Queen chosen by the Privy Council.
Cornwallis gives Jane a strategically powerful ally
and significant military resources.
More significant still because he's based in Mary's heartland.
When one of Mary's men arrived at the market place in Ipswich
and proclaims Mary the Queen of England,
Cornwallis immediately protests.
One eyewitness says that popular support for Mary was so great
that Cornwallis stood in grave peril of his life for supporting Jane.
Cornwallis realises that he's dangerously underestimated
the popularity of Mary among the ordinary people.
He comes here to Framlingham, where he gets an audience with Mary.
He kneels before her and begs her forgiveness.
This is a big deal,
and this is what we see gradually over the days of July,
that, in a way, the impossible gradually becomes possible.
People, significant figures in East Anglia, you know,
the local lieutenants who would never, you would imagine,
have declared for Mary, actually initially declare for Lady Jane
and then change their allegiance.
The defection of Cornwallis isn't an isolated incident.
Across the country, noblemen are finding themselves unexpectedly under pressure.
It becomes apparent that the common mood of the realm is pro-Mary.
Noblemen discovered that their tenants were refusing to fight
for them, and just as a King needed his nobles to fight for him,
nobles needed their tenants to fight for them.
That's how it all works, you know, everyone worked for everyone else.
And, again, if you're a noblemen and your tenants aren't going to support
you, your affinity aren't going to support you, you're nothing.
You're nobody, you're just a bloke.
The Earl of Oxford finds himself facing exactly this dilemma.
When he's summoned to support Jane, dozens of his own men confront him.
They say that if he doesn't defect to Mary, they'll go without him.
And he has to give in.
Oxford and his men join Mary's forces.
We're seeing something extraordinary.
How the feeling that Jane is the wrong woman on the throne
has started with the people, but it's so powerful that it begins
to force the political elite into action.
And that's what's so precarious in this July crisis,
that some of these key figures in East Anglia, who initially
declare for Lady Jane, then suddenly swing and support Mary.
And it's by turning their loyalty from one side to the other
that they basically bring an army of hundreds and potentially
several thousand people in defence of Mary,
as opposed to Lady Jane, which makes all the difference.
Mary, the old King's daughter, is a powerful figurehead
for whom people are prepared to lay down their lives.
Jane is the exact opposite.
So young and almost completely unknown,
at this critical point hidden away in the Tower,
she's a distant figure to the people whose Queen she claims to be.
As a privileged young girl, Jane's life had been sheltered.
She saw little of the world outside her home in the Royal Court.
And, more significantly in this moment of crisis,
the world had rarely seen her.
This is the geography of Jane's world.
There are five key places -
The Tower of London,
and Greenwich Palace.
They cluster along the river, and for very good reason.
Everyone depended on the river for travel.
For Jane, it was the thread that connected the places in her life.
The streets of London were narrow, cramped and dangerous.
Hello, Mark. Lovely to see you.
Like the rest of the Court,
Jane relied on the relative safety and comfort of travelling by river.
Try and get in time, number two.
Is this the closest I'm ever going to get to
-being on a 16th century barge?
-It really is, yes.
Other than the fact that this wasn't actually built in the 16th century,
it's only 25 years old, this is, in effect, a 16th century barge.
Mark Edwards made the present Queen's barge,
and this Tudor replica was built using traditional techniques.
It's the same design, built in the same way.
It really is, yes.
Should I be imagining Jane Grey sitting under a canopy like this?
This is a fairly ornamental,
but very practical, canopy for sun and light rain.
They did have a much more homely set-up where they had great hoops...
..pulled across, and they'd literally bring out a tapestry
or something like a carpet, and bring that right the way across,
so we'd actually be in the dark here, much more isolated.
Unlike Mary, Jane's life up to this point had not been a public one.
Her time had been spent in study and prayer...
..and as a result, she had become a role model
for other Protestant noblewomen.
She's educated to be an example to others.
When she's only sort of 14, she's getting letters from adult women
saying that they admire her for her learning and holiness.
So she already realises that she's up there on a pedestal.
Jane's power base is starting to look dangerously narrow,
pitted against Mary's popularity with the people.
And without Northumberland to hold the Privy Council together,
cracks are beginning to show.
When Northumberland left the Council, he'd created a vacuum,
so that there began to be a struggle between those who still supported
Northumberland, and those who were wavering on the fence
and reacted quite negatively to Jane's assertion
that she would not make Guildford King.
Jane knows that if the Privy Council begin to waver in their support for her,
it will be a catastrophe that will leave her vulnerable and exposed.
But for now, alone in the Tower,
there are only limited ways in which she can play the part of Queen.
She calls for a list to be drawn up of royal jewels and other valuables,
which, as monarch, are now her property.
An inventory was made for Jane on 14th July,
the fifth day of the reign.
What was it listing?
It was listing almost 600 items of jewellery that were
part of the Royal Wardrobe of Westminster.
So, the Royal Wardrobe was something that supplied everything
a monarch could need. It wasn't just clothing and jewellery,
it was everything from, sort of, spices to gunpowder,
anything that the King or Queen might need.
But this is particularly jewellery that you would wear.
Not the Crown Jewels, but things like
the decoration that would go around a woman's headdress, jewelled.
Things like the gold and silver tips that would go on the laces
that would tie, you know, your sleeves to your bodice.
And also, sort of, brooches, crosses.
Why do you think Jane was asking for this list to be made?
I would love to know.
I wonder whether she was potentially looking for the types of things
she should wear now that were appropriate for her new royal standing.
Of course, power dressing is incredibly important to the Tudors.
And whatever her own feelings might have been about plainer dressing,
it was still very important,
this conspicuous consumption for the Royal family,
and particularly for the monarch, for the sovereign,
to be seen as this glittering person that really was the top of society.
And we can see that from the first Protestant coronation,
the coronation of Edward VI her cousin, that he isn't downplayed.
He's wearing things just as luscious and sumptuous as all the previous coronations.
For Jane, the symbols of power, like power itself,
would never really be hers.
She would not reign long enough for a coronation to take place.
On 15th July, Northumberland's forces are heading for Cambridge,
where he plans to pause and wait for his artillery train and infantry to catch up.
And we think he reaches Cambridge probably by the evening of the 15th,
so he is in position up in Cambridge,
and you can see quite clearly, I hope, now, Helen,
that his position there is a strategic position.
It's going to take him longer to get to Framlingham,
but actually it makes a certain amount of logical military sense.
Because then she's in a stranglehold,
his land forces are on one side of her,
the ships he sent are at sea on the other side of her -
there's really nowhere for her to go.
Exactly. What can go wrong?
Northumberland has Mary surrounded, and although she has a growing army,
she can't match his firepower.
But it's here that Northumberland has a massive stroke of bad luck.
Well, it is a sequence of very unfortunate events, actually,
and the first of them, and we often forget the importance of weather,
but the first of them is climatic,
in the sense that there was a heavy
north-easterly wind driving the Royal ships
that were actually supposed to be stationed offshore,
not actually that close to the coast, a couple of leagues offshore,
which is going to allow them to remain in a blocking position,
but the bad weather forces them to take refuge in the Orwell Estuary.
As chance would have it, one of Mary's household, Henry Jerningham,
is in a local tavern and falls to talking about the naval forces off the coast.
Some time during the evening, he learns that ships laden
with soldiers and weaponry are anchored nearby at Orwell Haven.
The crews are owed money.
Jerningham spots an opportunity.
Riding to the harbour, Jerningham finds the ships
and succeeds in persuading the unhappy captain and crew
to change sides in favour of Mary.
Now, this was a massive coup, because, you know,
these are ships that have been sent on behalf of Lady Jane,
essentially representing the Government at that point.
Now, in part, they were protesting because of pay and conditions, as often is the case,
but they were also declaring in support of the Mary.
And that mutiny brings her more men, it brings her control of the coast,
and it brings her guns.
Yes, I mean, all of this is important, because her army is
growing, and, of course, you know, she needs more munitions.
Mary has no cannon at Framlingham.
All of a sudden, five of the six ships are now going to help Mary
by unloading their cannon and moving them, dragging them,
quite a serious logistical feat, towards Framlingham Castle, where,
when they are in position there, they will actually outgun the number
of cannon that Northumberland is bringing with him from London.
And, not only do you get the cannon and their ammunition,
but you also get trained gunners,
and the Royal Navy at this time is undergoing something of
a revolution, but it is one of the finest in the world,
and those guns are going to prove very effective in a fight.
The mutiny is one of the key moments that shows that, suddenly,
Mary is not only gaining support rapidly,
but actually becoming more than simply a contender and is actually
seriously now challenging the claim of Lady Jane, and in a decisive way.
Up until this point, Mary's had support but no artillery.
Now she has both.
Jane's hold on the throne is looking increasingly vulnerable.
On 16th July, the devastating news of the mutiny sends shock waves
through the Privy Council. They begin to ask if
it's God's punishment for denying Mary her blood right.
And the sheer numbers of ordinary people turning to Mary
is unnerving even the most ardent supporters of Jane.
Then more alarming news reaches the Tower -
local leaders in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire have declared for Mary
and raised a militia against Jane.
there's no-one Jane can trust to take control of the situation.
Well, there's still an opportunity for the Royal forces to put them down
if the various Justices of the Peace had acted in accordance
with the instructions being sent out from London to make sure
that if there's any rising of pro-Mary forces in the country,
they are dealt with. And some of them were,
some of them were ignoring, and some of them were supporting Mary,
but I think the overall lesson to learn from this is that
Northumberland and the members of the Privy Council
underestimated the level of latent support,
which later became overt support, for Mary in the country as a whole.
Jane's house of cards is beginning to collapse.
Mary's no longer trapped in East Anglia,
and her support is spreading through the Thames Valley as far as London.
London was under threat.
The old city had to look to its defences.
Orders were given to lock up the Tower
and post guards on the city gates.
London, a fortified city, was making ready for attack.
To see how London became a Tudor fortress,
I've come to see the first-ever printed map of the city,
dating from 1572.
Wow, this is some volume.
You get an immediate sense of how the Tower here, on the east side,
role as the defence of the city against shipping
-coming in from the east.
-Absolutely, there it is,
the southeast extent of the city rather well fortified.
And also quite threatening and foreboding. You have here a cell,
a caged cell on the water line,
where people could be subjected to the tides,
and some spiked heads on sticks.
Oh, my goodness, you need good eyes to see those!
But, yes, so this is a real statement of Royal power.
Absolutely, a statement of Royal power,
and foreboding for anybody entering the city.
In terms of the city itself...
..you can really get a sense of...
..how defensible it might be.
Absolutely, and what's fascinating about that is how that was obviously
a concern of the early map-makers,
and the royal family and the leaders.
If you put the Tower together with this city wall that goes
right round the city, and gates at various points that could be shut...
Absolutely, and indeed a moat.
And the fact that there's only one bridge, of course means the river
-is also a natural defence.
-Only one bridge with gates on the bridge
-and a wooden section that could be burned.
-Thought of everything!
Five days ago, the city and its Tower had been Jane's power base,
but now the tables have turned, and she's preparing it against attack.
The powerful nobles surrounding Jane are beginning to fear that
they have backed the wrong Queen, and they're well aware what
their fate might be if that proves to be the case.
What would a convicted traitor have to look forward to,
if that's the right word?
That would depend very much on your social status.
If you were a peer of the realm or a female equivalent,
you would be executed by beheading,
which is a fairly quick, fairly clean death.
If you are a commoner, you could be subjected to
hanging, drawing and quartering, which is absolutely horrendous.
This involves being hanged symbolically,
so you're cut down while you're still alive,
you're then disembowelled, you're castrated,
your entrails and your private parts are burned in a brazier, in a fire,
on the actual scaffold.
And you're then beheaded and quartered -
your body is cut into four quarters,
which are exhibited on top of castle gates, etc.
There's a variety of things that can happen to you, none of them very pleasant.
Jane, too, knows from personal experience how quickly
fortunes can change, with deadly consequences.
At the age of ten or 11,
she was sent from her home at Bradgate in Leicestershire
to a household in London.
Jane was to be the ward of Thomas Seymour and his new wife,
Catherine Parr, the widowed Queen of Henry VIII.
It was a politically advantageous arrangement for the Grey family.
Jane had been with the Seymours for a year when Catherine Parr
gave birth, and six days later, died.
Jane returned home, but stayed in close contact with her guardian.
This is the letter Jane wrote to Thomas Seymour
in the autumn of 1548.
"These, my letters, shall be to testify unto you that,
"like as you have become towards me a loving and kind father,
"so I shall be always most ready to obey your godly monitions
"and good instructions."
Jane was about 11 when she wrote this letter.
She's writing to someone who's become a father figure to her.
But Seymour was a man of vast ambition,
and a few months later his pursuit of power led to his downfall.
He was even accused of trying to kidnap the King
here at Hampton Court Palace.
It was reported that he was caught trying to break into
the Royal apartments when the King's dog started to bark
and, in a panic, Thomas killed it.
He was arrested and sent to the Tower.
The man who had been Jane's guardian was now sentenced to death as a traitor.
The brutal reality of politics at the highest level
was a lesson Jane had learn very young.
But even though she knows the risks, there is no going back for Jane.
She has worn the crown, she has taken a stand,
now she must see it through.
Her last hope lies in keeping the loyalty of the Privy Council.
But without Northumberland's reassuring presence,
they begin to falter.
In the corridors and the quiet places of the Tower,
the men of the Privy Council were unnerved.
Sir Edmund Peckham, one of the Royal treasurers,
had already gone missing.
Jane responds by ordering a strong guard
to be mounted around the Tower walls.
If Jane couldn't count on the loyalty of her Council,
she'd imprison them with her in her fortress.
Jane commanded that they be locked into the Tower
and the keys turned over to her personally.
So, you get this incredibly poignant sense that the Tower
is shifting around Jane, shifting from palace to prison.
She did become a prisoner without knowing it,
because these members of the Council that were beginning to revolt,
if you will, or shift direction, had moved out of the Tower,
so she didn't have any direct knowledge of what they were up to.
Jane continues to assert her power,
sending out letters to key officials to demand their support.
That, and her decision to hold the keys to the Tower herself,
might look like an assertion of power
but, in fact, it's a response to an increasingly precarious position.
Outside the Tower's walls, there's a growing sense
that she's standing in the way of the rightful successor, Mary.
I mean, there's really a sense that more and more people now
are supporting Mary and, of course, when you see that there's
this real contender, then suddenly it convinces other people
to actually throw in their lot with her because, ultimately,
no-one wants to be on the wrong, on the losing side, as it were.
So, it's not until Mary begins to actually look like she's got
a chance that people begin to really throw their lot in with her,
and that becomes absolutely crucial.
At this stage, Northumberland's army are still in Cambridge.
He's joined by his sons and more troops,
but he doesn't yet know that his mission is in grave danger.
So, he's now outnumbered, probably by as many as three-to-one,
but that itself may not have been enough to deter him from continuing on.
But Mary now has artillery,
and it's probable that the force of artillery at Framlingham even
outmatches his own, and so not only is he outnumbered, he's outgunned.
Over the course of five days, Jane's fortunes have changed dramatically.
On the 12th, she had the machinery of the Tudor state behind her.
By the 16th, her palace is becoming a prison,
and Northumberland, her protector, is far from London.
Meanwhile, Mary now has a powerful army.
She has the support of the people,
and the political elite are beginning to join her.
Everything now depends on Jane's ability to hold her camp together...
..but with their allegiances shifting by the day,
she's starting to look dangerously isolated.
And if she loses this battle for the crown,
she'll pay with her life.
Jane's support is crumbling...
It's like one penny drops, the rest go, it's like dominoes.
..a Queen becomes a prisoner,
and in the end she's sentenced to death.
Jane had to walk out here,
lay her head on the block
and wait for the blade.
But in her last moments, Jane leaves some private messages for posterity.
So this is the book she actually carried onto the scaffold
and handed over just before the blindfolding and the kneeling.
Jane is known as the 'Nine Days Queen' - and three days into her reign the clock is ticking. Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry VIII, is determined to seize power. Both women are raising armies.
The manipulative Duke of Northumberland is dispatched from the Tower of London to lead Jane's forces against Mary at her castle at Framlingham. Northumberland sets out for a battle that could descend into civil war. But ordinary people can turn the tide of history. Will they go against the odds and side with the Catholic Mary Tudor?
Jane's military leaders send heavily armed ships to the coast of East Anglia to prevent Mary escaping by sea and to cut her off from any help that might come from Catholic supporters in Europe. But the crews rebel and turn the ships and their weapons over to Mary. Mary and Jane now have armies matched in size and matched in firepower. The future of the country - its religion and its ruler - hangs in the balance.