|Lady Jane Grey, from an engraving from 1682. Public Domain.|
"Lady Jane Grey should be known as Queen Jane I because, for nine days she was the ruling queen of England," Sophie tells me. "Whether you think her reign was legal, moral, justified or anything else, Edward VI had chosen her as his heir when he died, and she took the throne accordingly.
Not only that, but she was the centre of the court for those nine days, and there was real power behind her at some points, including the initial support of the Privy Council of England. Calling her Lady Jane Grey suggests that she was just a wildcard pretender to the throne, instead of someone who had royal blood, the royal court and some political will behind her (although it rapidly, and unsurprisingly disappeared).
Finally, there is precedent for an uncrowned ruler to still be known – Edward V, one of the ill-fated Princes in the Tower was never crowned and yet he is still known as King Edward V. His claim to the throne might have been stronger than Jane’s and he did have a longer period of technically being in power (11 weeks to be exact), but he was dominated politically by adults just as Jane was (more so, in fact, seeing as Jane refused permission for her husband to be crowned) and never had a coronation. Jane might have been deposed, but so were Richard II, Henry VI and Richard III. Jane deserves her title as much as any of these Kings – she has had just as much of an impact on history and general awareness of it as any of them."
What do you think? Should we call Jane Grey 'Queen Jane', or should she be known as Lady Jane Grey? Let me know your thoughts below. And thanks to Sophie for offering her take on the argument - you can find her at History Chatter's website or chat with her on Twitter @sophie_malory.
1. Historic Royal Palaces, Tower of London: Lady Jane Grey. Accessed 26 Apr. 2020.