The Sisters Who Would Be Queen, By Leanda de Lisle
Sunday 21 March 2010
The sisters in question in Leanda de Lisle's entertaining and sympathetic biography are the Greys: Jane, Katherine and Mary.
Jane Grey is currently on display at the National Gallery, depicted in full romantic guise as a tragic heroine, being led to the block aged 17 for her part in the attempt to establish her as queen over Henry VIII's eldest daughter, Mary, upon the death of Henry's son, Edward VI. De Lisle does a good job of demolishing that portrayal, showing a much more determined young woman who took to the job of queen, if only for a matter of weeks, with relish and authority. And, as Protestant reformers and the legitimate great-granddaughters of Henry VII, the Grey sisters were, as a group, much more of a threat to Elizabeth I than to Mary.
Katherine and Mary survived Jane's coup, but Katherine spent most of her life in prison or under house arrest after she married without asking Elizabeth's permission – as Mary subsequently did, too. It was an era when birthright alone could bring great riches and comfort, as well as great danger, and de Lisle does an excellent job of showing the difficulty of straddling those two extremes.
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 4 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Three million books were judged by their covers - this is what happened
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
No Escape, film review: Thriller generates plenty of excitement but soon collapses
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees