‘Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same’. These were the heartbreaking words of a seventeen-year-old girl, Lady Jane Grey, as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554. Minutes later her head was struck from her body with a single stroke of a heavy axe, and her soul winged its way to the Protestant heaven in which she had so vehemently believed. Her death for high treason sent shockwaves through the Tudor world, and served as a gruesome reminder to all who aspired to a crown that the axe could fall at any time.
Jane is known to history as ‘the Nine Days Queen’, and while her story has been told, historians often ignore the human and emotional aspects of it. Furthermore the recent trend of trying to highlight her achievements and her religious faith has in fact further obscured the real Jane, a young religious radical who saw herself as an advocate of Protestantism, and ultimately became a martyr for her faith. Crown of Blood is an important and significant retelling of an often misread tale: set at the time of Jane’s fall and following her journey through to her trial and execution, each chapter moves between the past and the ‘present’ in order to unravel the grim tapestry of Lady Jane Grey’s life, and chart the deadly intrigues that led inexorably to its horrific and searing climax.
Nicola Tallis graduated from Bath Spa University with a first class BA Hons. degree in History, and has an MA in Public History from Royal Holloway College, University of London. She is currently conducting research for her PhD at the University of Winchester, where her thesis investigates the jewellery collections of the queens of England between 1445 and 1548.
She has been passionate about English history all of her life, and has worked as a historical researcher, and with Historic Royal Palaces and the National Trust. Nicola currently works as the Curator at Sudeley Castle, and featured...
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