Anne Somerset

Doomed From Birth

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Katherine, Mary and Lady Jane Grey


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Leanda de Lisle’s ably executed biography of the unlucky Grey sisters starkly illuminates the perils of being a princess in sixteenth-century England. Although at the time few people disputed that it was undesirable for a woman to rule the kingdom, the Tudor dynasty’s dearth of male heirs meant that these three great-nieces of Henry VIII were candidates for the throne. In an age when ferocious power struggles were envenomed further by religious animosities and uncertainty surrounding the succession, they were, perhaps predictably, destined for destruction.

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