July 6, 1553

06/07/2019 all-day

King Edward VI died, aged just 15. A vicious succession battle soon began.The Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley, a seasoned soldier and the power behind the throne, engineered his teenage daughter-in-law Lady Jane Grey onto the throne as queen. Jane was the young king’s cousin.

Mary Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VIII, stood in the way. She rallied her forces in East Anglia. At Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, she raised her banner – and the gentry of the eastern counties rallied to her cause. At Great Yarmouth the royal fleet mutinied and defected to Mary. From Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk, Tudor loyalist Sir Henry Bedingfeld brought 140 armed cavalry to defend the woman they regarded as the true queen. Mary’s forces grew by the day.

Northumberland marched to confront them, but his army deserted. Courtiers flocked to Framlingham to confirm Mary as queen. Jane abdicated after a reign of just nine days, and Mary rode in triumph to London.

During her five-year reign she attempted to restore England to the Catholic faith. Had she lived longer, and produced an heir to her throne, our history could have been much different.