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Helen Castor tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, the first reigning queen of England. Edward cuts sister Mary out of the line of succession and leaves the throne to his cousin Jane.

In this first episode, Helen Castor reveals an incendiary document, written in Edward's spidery handwriting on his deathbed, which cuts his sister Mary out of the line of succession and leaves the throne to his cousin Jane. It forms the basis of a constitutional crisis that dragged the country to the edge of civil war.

But was it Edward's idea? Or was the boy king manipulated by sinister forces behind the throne? Fearing a return to Catholicism, a cabal of rich and powerful men led by the Duke of Northumberland - the 'Wicked Duke' - covered up the king's death for several days and staged a coup, placing Lady Jane Grey on the throne without even telling her.

Within a day of Jane being told she is to be queen, she is entering the Tower of London, whilst Mary goes on the run to avoid capture and plan her revenge.

59 minutes

Last on

Wed 27 Apr 2022 23:00


Role Contributor
Presenter Helen Castor
Lady Jane Grey Eilidh Loan
King Edward VI Ashley Gyngell
Mary Tudor Lainy Boyle
John Dudley Michael Adams
Henry Grey Robin Jones
Participant John Guy
Participant Anna Whitlock
Participant Leanda de Lisle
Participant J Stephan Edwards
Participant Joanne Paul
Participant Sally Dixon-Smith
Participant James Sharpe
Production Company Darlow Smithson Productions Ltd
Director Bill Thomas
Executive Producer Emily Dalton
Executive Producer Tim Green
Producer Jenny Mauthe
Producer Lucie Crawford


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