The sisters of Lady Jane Grey and their wicked grandfather; being the true stories of the strange lives of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, and of the ladies Katherine and Mary Grey, sisters of Lady Jane Grey, the nine-days queen,

The sisters of Lady Jane Grey and their wicked grandfather; being the true stories of the strange lives of Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk, and of the ladies Katherine and Mary Grey, sisters of Lady Jane Grey, the nine-days queen, THE Strange Adventures Of The Ladies Katherine And Mary Grey, Although They Excited Great Interest At The Time Of Their Happening, And Were Of Immense Contemporary Political Importance, Are Now Almost Unknown, Even To Professed Students Of Elizabethan History The Sad Fate Of These Unfortunate Princesses Has Paled Before That Of Their Famous Sister, Lady Jane Grey, Who, Although The Heroine Of An Appalling Tragedy, Was Rather The Victim Of Others Than Of Her Own Actions In A Sense, She Was Merely A Lay Figure, Whereas Her Sisters, Especially Lady Katherine, Who Played An Active Part On The Stage Of History At A Later Period Of Life, And Possessed An Unusually Strong Personality, Were Entirely Swayed By The Most Interesting Of Human Passions Love Lady Katherine Was Literally Done To Death By Her Infatuation For The Young Earl Of Hertford, The Eldest Son Of That Protector Somerset Who Suffered Death Under Edward VI The Feline Cruelty With Which Queen Elizabeth Tormented Lady Katherine, After The Clandestine Marriage With Her Lover Was Revealed, Called Forth The Freely Expressed Condemnation Of Chief Secretary Cecil, Who Denounced His Royal Mistress S Harshness In No Measured Terms From The Preface Biography is not my usual cup of tea, and besides, everybody knows about the Nine Day Queen, and everybody knows thats there is nothing much to know about her sisters But Richard Patrick Boyle Davey sold me A casual glance skim of the opening paragraph, and I was in for it, hook, line and sinker Not so much to lap up some high school history, but because Davey is irresistible Preposterous Outrageous I can t say how many times I caught myself reading with my mouth hanging open I have practically dislocated jaw syndrome.Davey is a mysterious Victorian historian Mysterious, because I can t find anything on him except for an entry in the Peerage but of course Victorian in every way though Here is what I mean The following is a portrait of the Lady Frances Brandon Gray and her husband Here is Davey s analysis of the portrait The gentleman is distinctly plain and common looking, with his ginger hair, his colourless eyes and rather silly expression Now, if you ask me, I would have said the heifer on the left was even coarse looking, and, she also, prithee, has ginger hair Between the two, I d say Stokes has aquiline features whereas Frances looks like she d be at home at a kartofel co operative Whats going on, then Well, here is whats going on Fran, you see, is granddaughter of Henry the VII, daughter of Mary, the French Queen, and niece of Henry the VIII All heel Adrian Stokes, her second husband, is base born, 15 years younger, and happened to be her Groom of the Chamber Lord only knows what duties that entails , before she married him Therefore, Stokes is a silly fellow, and Frances is described as bearing a resemblance to her uncle, Henry VIII Davey salt and peppers his accounts with unabashed judgements such as these throughout On the issue of the Princesses Mary and Elizabeth s attire, we have the following her sister Elizabeth, Mary was inordinately fond of dress, with this difference, however, that she had perfect taste Given that Mary had an uncanny resemblance to Queen Victoria, all decked in black mourning weeds, is that why Mary has perfect taste, whilst Elizabeth wore gregarious farthingales, ridiculous ruffs and towering headdresses, disfigured herself and her courtiers and rendered themselves a laughing stock to foreigners Phew, that Davey is very bold four centuries on nigh.On the issue of female education, Davey also has a stance well, he has a stance on everything, really Lady Jane s mother Frances would bob and pinch her if she sought relief from the cruel and unusual recreation, for a young girl, of reading Plato s dialogues Well, I did say Davey was a Victorian through and through.He is entertaining in other ways as well his historical personages wax exceedingly wroth , fill each other s quivers with children, and practice on the virginals Love the language.In the end, I am thoroughly absorbed in the misfortunes of the ladies Grey Who would have thought it, but Mary Grey was a dwarf, under four feet, crooked and very ugly Who does she secretly marry The tallest man in England, seven foot high Mr Sargeant Porter, keeper of the Tower Water gate I m trying to picture how certain matters would have worked out between them, but cannot Its not just Mary Gray who is a one woman freak show in this Tudor pastoral Half the noblemen are afflicted elephantitis, dwarfism, handicaps all that inbreeding, I think Given there were hardly any middle classes at this stage, and circa 100 noble families all meshing it up continuously, if it weren t for the occasional trysts with the hoi polloi to refresh the gene pool, the nobles would have bred themselves out of existence faster than you can say jack in the box In fact, the Tudor tinge of red hair and braod face is attributable directly , and by Davey, to the bed sporting activities of widowed queen dowager Katherine of Valois, who fell for a Welsh guard Owen ap Twydder or Tudor Davey s explanation for the alliance Katherine was the daughter of mad king Charles VI of France, and bad blood indeed This accounts for much that was wrong in the character of their royal descendents e.g The Tudor kings Davey certainly does not hold back, does he In Victorian speke he has just called Katherine a slut.Finally, I remain at a loss, as to why Elizabeth keeps tormenting her Grey cousins True, they are nominated as her possible successors in her father s will, but what exactly, is her problem As she herself has no issue, what does it matter who succeeds her and why didn t she just nominate a successor instead of systematically and ruthlessly persecuting and exterminating all nominees Ah well, maybe thats fodder for another book.