Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554) is known as the nine day queen of England. A distant relative of Henry VIII, she spent much of her childhood in the king’s court, being groomed to marry Edward, the next-in-line for the throne. By age 7 both she and Edward knew Latin and Greek, and through reading the New Testament both had been converted to Christ.
Edward became king as a boy, died a few years later – likely poisoned by one of his advisers – resulting in Lady Jane becoming Queen. Jane knew nothing of the order of succession, and came to the throne reluctantly. But she realized that if she took a stand for Christ and against the Mass, she could leave a mark on England.
After only nine days, Jane was betrayed by her father and overthrown by her Spanish (and Catholic) cousin, Mary. Imprisoned, she was offered mercy if only she would take the Mass. Instead she publicly debated Mary’s chaplain about transubstantiation. By all accounts the seventeen-year-old girl won the debate, for which she would lose her life. She was beheaded shortly thereafter.
Jane’s legacy is seen in the fact that after Bloody Mary’s death, England would never again be a Catholic nation. English history was forever changed by the gospel-fueled martyrdom of a teenage queen.