Lady Jane

My earliest introduction to Lady Jane was the song “My Sweet Lady Jane” recorded by the English rock band the Rolling Stones, written by the group’s songwriting duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  The song was initially included on the band’s 1966 album Aftermath.

My sweet Lady Jane
When I see you again
Your servant am I
And will humbly remain
Just heed this plea, my love
On bended knees my love
I pledge myself to Lady Jane

About the same time as I was awakening to the Beatles around 1968 (everyone was mad about the floppy haired boys) I began attending undergraduate studies in Philosophy at Glendon Hall, Toronto. My favourite song then was “Hey Jude!” which I even performed on a grand piano for a sizeable audience as part of a university dramatic show. A colleague of mine at Glendon Hall that year was a woman named Jane from Ottawa where my parents resided at the time. Jane and I subsequently shared some time together though it wasn’t until recently (thanks to the input of another colleague from the same period) that I heard mention of her again.

Today I met concerning a proposed business transaction with a woman named Jane.  Our acquaintance goes back more years than I can now safely recall. She inhabits one of the nearby Ottawa Valley towns which is the predominant reason I have regularly chosen to deal with her, apart naturally from her positive allure. Our meeting today was a vibrant combination of business and personal amusement. Unwittingly the two of us surpassed the customary social boundaries and openly shared with one another some of the fabric of our existence. Though Jane is a quarter century younger than I, we have much in common. Among the shared denominators are health issues, photography, New Brunswick (my father’s heritage), Key Largo, Hlton Head Island and most significantly a resolve to fulfill the so-called “Bucket List”.

It was easy today, as the sun shone brilliantly and the temperature climbed above 15°C, for the two of us to lapse into a comfortable and animated discussion of life.  After sharing an eclipse of our respective medical urgencies, we concluded that all is good.  Jane’s heartfelt positivity reminded me instantly of Mrs C from Key Largo, she who is unfailingly willingly to chastise me for what I conceive to be a mere fraction of disappointment but which Mrs C hurriedly provokes me to dissolve in preference for an unblemished and more fertile terrain.

Were it not for the likes of Jane and Mrs C the proliferation of gloom would no doubt be rampant. Accordingly I crawl before such as they, acknowledging their learned take on life since axiomatically there is no better alternative. It is simple to discredit this theme of ambivalence of good and bad in favour of optimism but once verily adopted it is incontrovertible. Living as we do in a global atmosphere of sometimes horrific results, it is a challenge to preserve the option of positivity. Jane exemplifies the enterprise. Though she is on the heels of a manifest challenge to her life she is in my opinion close to full recovery (though not without the patina of injury).

Lady Jane Grey (c. 1537 – 12 February 1554), also known as Lady Jane Dudley after her marriage and as the “Nine Days’ Queen“, was an English noblewoman who claimed the throne of England and Ireland from 10 to 19 July 1553.

Jane was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII through his daughter, Mary Tudor, and was therefore a grandniece of Henry VIII, and a first cousin once removed of Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. She had an excellent humanist education, and a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. In May 1553, she married Lord Guildford Dudley, a younger son of Edward’s chief minister John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. In June 1553, the dying Edward VI wrote his will, nominating Jane and her male heirs as successors to the Crown, in part because his half-sister Mary was Catholic, while Jane was a committed Protestant and would support the reformed Church of England, whose foundation Edward laid. The will removed his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, from the line of succession on account of their illegitimacy, subverting their claims under the Third Succession Act.

After Edward’s death, Jane was proclaimed queen on 10 July 1553, and awaited coronation in the Tower of London. Support for Mary grew quickly, and most of Jane’s supporters abandoned her. The Privy Council of England suddenly changed sides, and proclaimed Mary as queen on 19 July 1553, deposing Jane. Her primary supporter, her father-in-law, the Duke of Northumberland, was accused of treason, and executed less than a month later. Jane was held prisoner in the Tower, and was convicted of high treason in November 1553, which carried a sentence of death.

Mary initially spared her life; however, Jane soon became viewed as a threat to the Crown when her father, Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, became involved with Wyatt’s rebellion against Queen Mary’s intention to marry Philip of Spain. Jane and her husband were executed on 12 February 1554. At the time of her death, Jane was either 16 or 17 years old.