Alternate History: What If Lady Jane Grey Was Not Deposed?

by AlexandriaIngham

There are many what ifs in history. One of those surrounds Lady Jane Grey. What if Mary I never deposed her on July 19, 1553?

Lady Jane Grey is known as the Nine Day Queen. As part of my alternate history series, I have a few in mind for this unfortunate young woman. Personally, I don’t see her as a traitor, and I don’t think she had much to do with the plot to put herself on the throne. I believe she was going along with Edward VI’s wishes, and it was her parents and in-laws who really pushed the matter.

Mary I deposed Lady Jane Grey on July 19, 1553. But what if that didn’t happen? What if Jane had the support of the English people and was officially crowned Queen of England? What if Edward’s last will and testament stood, meaning that she was the true named heir of the boy king?

Here are my thoughts of this alternate history.

She Would Have Lived Longer

Could Lady Jane Grey have lived longer if she was Queen of England?

WOuld Lady Jane Grey lived longer if she was queen?She was eventually executed in 1554 due to a plot in her name. She had nothing to do with this plot, but Mary I was determined to make sure the English protestants had nobody to rally behind or place on the throne. Lady Jane Grey and her half-sister Lady Elizabeth were the two main figureheads, and Jane had already been convicted of treason.

Had she been queen at the time, she would have certainly lived longer. She may have even had Mary executed or at least locked in the tower due to the attempt to depose her.

It is difficult to say how long she would have lived considering the life expectancy at the time, but judging by her cousins and ancestors, she would have likely lived into her 30s at least. Considering she was 16 at the time of her unofficial coronation within the Tower of London, she had at least 14 more years to live.

Mary I Would Never Have Been Queen of England

Mary Tudor would have remained a Lady, and may have been executed instead.

With Jane’s age taken into account, Mary I definitely would not have become Queen of England. Even if Jane chose against imprisoning her in the Tower or executing her, Mary would have died before Jane’s eventual death. The only things that could have killed Jane would be an unexpected illness or murder.

Would Mary have attempted to murder her cousin? Considering how religious she was, I’m not sure she would. But the Catholics may have started a rebellion in Mary’s name. That is highly likely considering the number of Protestant rebellions there were during Mary’s reign.

The next question is whether Elizabeth Tudor would have become queen of England. This is highly unlikely for a number of reasons. One of the most important follows next.

Jane Grey and Guildford Dudley Would Have Had Children

Lady Jane Grey would have likely had children of her own if she had lived longer.

Considering the two would have survived, it is highly likely that they would have had children. They were both young, and their families showed that fertility was good. Yes, I know that doesn’t mean they were fertile but it supports the possibility.

Jane would have certainly wanted to try for a boy. She needed an heir for the throne, and being the first female queen in her own right was already a dubious position. Edward VI had made it clear that Jane was the only female who would rule after him. The crown was then to only pass to her male heirs. Of course, being queen Jane could have overridden that, but she would have tried to have a boy at all costs.

If there was a boy, it would have been a positive thing for the English throne. There would have been little rejection from the Scottish crown, and little need to bring James VI of Scotland down to England.

What if she only had girls? Well, I guess that would have depended on how successful Jane was as a queen. While she was smart, she seems very naive from everything that I’ve read about her in history. I wonder if she had the gall to be Queen of England. She stood up to her in-laws when it came to Guildford becoming king—that was not going to happen—but did she have enough to stand up against a council of men if they went against her beliefs?

Lady Elizabeth Tudor May Have Been at Court

There may still have been an option for Elizabeth at court, but she would not have likely been queen.

While there is nothing to support that the two were close, they were raised together for a short time when they were under the care of Katherine Parr. This may have led to some sort of friendship and loyalty to each other. With Jane only being queen for nine days in the real world, it is difficult to tell if she would have thought about bringing in those she trusted.

It would have been advantageous for Elizabeth to be in Jane’s court. If Jane had no heirs, Elizabeth would have wanted to be named heir instead. She could have also helped guide the young queen, especially since she was old enough to remember how her father reigned as King of England. If anything, she would have been someone for Jane to confide in.

Read More About Lady Jane Grey on Wizzley

The downside for Elizabeth is that Jane may have married her cousin off. It would have gone against everything that Elizabeth wanted in her life. She had told Robert Dudley that she wanted to marry.

A Protestant England

How would the reign have affected the religion in the country?

The country would have moved further into Protestantism. There would have been no reason for a five-year period where the country had gone back to the old religion, and it would have meant the 300 Protestants, including Thomas Cranmer, would not have been burned at the stake.

This could have caused some problems for Jane, though. There is the high chance of Catholic uprisings. It would have been interesting to see how she would have dealt with that, and whether she would have taken similar action as Mary I did in real life.

Everything could have changed if Lady Jane Grey wasn’t deposed by Mary I. It would have likely prevented Mary and Elizabeth from becoming English queens, and may have prevented James VI becoming James I of England. Depending on her heirs, it would be interesting to know whether Scotland and England would have ever joined together to become Great Britain.

Read More of the Alternate History Series on Wizzley

If Catherine of Aragon had accepted her divorce from Henry VIII would it have changed much? So much resided on that decision to fight.
I often love delving into the what ifs in history. This is a post dedicated to the what ifs surrounding Anne Boleyn had she had a boy.
It's fun to have fun with alternate history. Here I considered what could have happened if Jane Seymour never died after the birth of Edward.
Anne of Cleves was put aside after just six months of unconsummated marriage. But what if it was consummated? And what if Anne of Cleves had a child with Henry VIII?
Anne of Cleves was put aside after just six months of unconsummated marriage. But what if it was consummated? And what if Anne of Cleves had a child with Henry VIII?
If Kathryn Howard gave birth to a baby, would it have helped save her life? That is something I'm taking the time to look into.
Katherine Parr could have changed so much if she just told Henry VIII no when it came to marriage.
What if Edward VI didn't die in 1553? Could that have changed much for the English throne?
Updated: 11/11/2014, AlexandriaIngham
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