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{Audiobooks} The Sisters Who Would Be Queen: The Tragedy of Katherine, Mary and Lady Jane GreyAuthor Leanda de Lisle –

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Inspiration For Philippa Gregory S Novel The Last Tudor And For Elizabeth Fremantle S Novel Sisters Of TreasonLeanda De Lisle Brings The Story Of Nine Days Queen, Lady Jane Grey And Her Forgotten Sisters, The Rivals Of Elizabeth I, To Vivid Life In Her Fascinating Biography Philippa GregoryLady Jane Grey Is An Iconic Figure In English History Misremembered As The Nine Days Queen , She Has Been Mythologized As A Child Woman Destroyed On The Altar Of Political Expediency Behind The Legend, However, Was An Opinionated And Often Rebellious Adolescent Who Died A Passionate Leader, Not Merely A Victim Growing Up In Jane S Shadow, Her Sisters Katherine And Mary Would Have To Tread Carefully To SurviveThe Dramatic Lives Of The Younger Grey Sisters Remain Little Known, But Under English Law They Were The Heirs And Rivals To The Tudor Monarchs Mary And Elizabeth I The Beautiful Katherine Ignored Jane S Dying Request That She Remain Faithful To Her Beliefs, Changing Her Religion To Retain Queen Mary S Favour Only To Then Risk Life And Freedom In A Secret Marriage That Threatened Queen Elizabeth S ThroneWhile Elizabeth S Closest Adviser Fought To Save Katherine, Her Younger Sister Mary Remained At Court As The Queen S Maid Of Honour Too Plain To Be Considered Significant, It Seemed That Lady Mary Grey, At Least, Would Escape The Burden Of Her Royal Blood But Then She Too Fell In Love, And Incurred The Queen S FuryExploding The Many Myths Of Lady Jane S Life And Casting Fresh Light Onto Elizabeth S Reign, Acclaimed Historian Leanda De Lisle Brings The Tumultuous World Of The Grey Sisters To Life, At A Time When A Royal Marriage Could Gain You A Kingdom Or Cost You Everything

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

  1. says:

    The Sisters Who Would Be Queen is one of the best nonfiction books that I have had the pleasure to read Taking complicated circumstances and unraveling them for the greater understanding of the reader, Lisle also injects plenty of personality into her writing At times, this highly informative book read as easily, and was as interesting, as a fast paced novel.I enjoyed learning about the famous Grey sisters If you are a Tudor phile, you have likely heard of them or at least a fictional version of them The author s thoughts on Jane were quite different than the fictional accounts that I have read of her, and I found her an admirable young woman in her own right With no need to romanticize her story, Jane is presented as intelligent and devout and with a little bit of attitude Her quick rise and downfall is just as tragic without painting her as a naive pawn.Katherine s story is no less heart wrenching, if for different reasons I find it difficult to admire Elizabeth I when I read about her jealous cruelty Not only did she basically drive Katherine to her death, but she made her life miserable and disinherited her children The Virgin Queen was of a bitter spinster.Finally, Mary Grey s story is the least dramatic, though Elizabeth did her part to torture the poor man who dared to fall in love with this Grey sister as well She was, at least, finally allowed her freedom, if not love and a family.The remainder of the book details the remnant of the Grey family heading into the English Civil War, which seemed to be largely caused by Elizabeth s stubbornness and bad decisions.Overall, a wonderful, detailed look at the true story of the Grey sisters and the circumstances that led to the end of the Tudor dynasty.

  2. says:

    In May of 1553, Durham House in London witnessed a triple wedding The eldest of the couples were barely past their mid teens the other two brides were age twelve, their husbands not much older One of these boys was severely ill, dragged out of bed to stand by his new wife s side.No one objected to what we now would howl down as child abuse, to say nothing of illegality The average marriage age for ordinary English folk was twenty, but these were all noble children, and the entire purpose behind these weddings was political an attempt to consolidate power in order to prevent Mary Tudor from being regarded as the severely ill Edward s heir It didn t work Most of those who arranged it would lose their heads in the gamble.Of those children, none of them had a family intact, and indeed, the number of beheaded relatives was going to climb Meantime, sickness was going to strike down a grim number of these young people, but even so, there was a remarkable number of youths during this stressful time after the death of Henry VIII, as every court faction struggled to secure the succession.The most remarkable result was two generations of female queens or potential queens, in spite of firm conviction that women were subordinate to men according to the Great Chain of Being, the orderly hierarchy of the universe.I read de Lisle s first book, After Elizabeth, which I felt was unmoored at times, shifting back and forth in order to delineate all the remarkable figures on England and Scotland s royal stages This book suffered no such lack of focus It s brilliantly organized, with the three Grey sisters central the Stuarts succeeded in winning the throne, though by rights Katherine Grey s son Beauchamp should have been the next king, according to Henry VIII s will But Elizabeth Tudor, having grown up witnessing the bloody destruction caused by power mongers impatient to replace a reigning monarch with the next heir, spent her entire reign refusing to acknowledge anyone as heir When the surviving Grey sisters sneaked away to marry, the infuriated queen threw them into prison until they died.The first of the sisters, of course, was famous Lady Jane Grey, and it s her story that really makes the book earn its price De Lisle uncovers with painstaking scholarship the accretions of fiction and politically motivated sentimentality around Jane Grey, providing a fascinating portrait of a teen who not only accepted queenship, but fought all her nearly fortnight s rule to hold onto power, and chose death rather than compromise.It might be good to be king it wasn t for Jane but one thing for certain, it is very dangerous to be near the king, or queen, as this book demonstrates with unflinching eye to detail It makes riveting reading, with careful explication of motivation within the Tudor paradigm, and the decisions that led to the idea that Parliament must decide who is the future monarch Once that jack in the box had popped out, it could not be stuffed back in by the Stuarts attempt to emulate Henry VIII s absolute rule.The flamboyant court figures, most of whom died at tragically young ages, come to life under de Lisle s skilled description, backed by formidable notes and bibliographic sources.

  3. says:

    This book covers an extremely complex bit of history, so I will try to keep this as short and sweet as possible We all know about Henry VIII and out of six wives he had one son, Edward, and two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth Henry s favorite sister Mary had a daughter Frances who in turn had three daughters Jane, Katherine and Mary Upon the death of Edward, well that is when things get complicated as those three sisters or specifically any sons they might bear were potential heirs to the throne of England.Most Tudorphiles are familiar with the eldest daughter Jane, who becomes the Nine Day Queen and her tragic end What s refreshing in this book is that Lisle also shows us the rest of the story of the younger sisters Katherine and Mary, who as potential heirs to the throne are unable to marry without the Queen s permission and Elizabeth was not about to give it and let them have sons who could threaten her crown Katherine comes to court to serve Elizabeth and falls in love with Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford, but without Elizabeth s permission to marry so they do so in secret, although the lovers face the Queen s wrath when the marriage is discovered Years later a grown Mary arrives at court and she incurs the Queen s anger when she also marries in secret And that s about as far as I ll go, if you know the basic history you know where the rest of the story goes and if you don t, well then read it for yourself Lisle does a great job of breaking down some old myths no, Frances wasn t quite the power hungry harridan she s always been portrayed as as well as breaking new ground with solid facts and research and puts it all together in a very readable book It was a tad bit dry at first I don t normally read non fiction but once we got into Katherine and Mary s stories I was hooked and had a hard time putting it down.

  4. says:

    According to the title of this book, there were three Grey sisters Jane, Katherine and Mary all of whom played an important role in Tudor history According to the bulk of the narrative, there was Lady Jane Grey and two sisters who served as an epilogue to their elder sister s tragedy I don t think this is the fault of de Lisle so much as it is the fault of history few people recorded their thoughts on the two younger Greys, even though they were possibly important than Jane in the grand scheme of English succession Or, if they were important in their day, the grander and romantic demise of Jane soon overshadowed their only slightly longer and less dramatic lives.A lot of rumor and mythmaking surrounds Jane Grey, and it can be hard to separate the truth from the legends the Nine Days Queen has been many things to many people and she is the only monarch since 1500 to have no surviving portrait For the Victorians, she was an innocent led to slaughter by the ambitions of her family an image exemplified by the painting of her execution by Paul Delaroche For those displeased by the Catholic rule of monarchs like Mary Tudor and James Stuart, she was a brave martyr to the Protestant cause Some thought she was merely a tool being manipulated by her husband to maneuver himself onto the throne, and a small minority even considered her an overzealous evangelical looking for a heroic death So, which is it Martyr or pawn Leader or follower In reality, drawing a distinction between two opposing labels in this instance will not work Like any human being, Lady Grey was complicated than a single label can capture In The Sisters Who Would be Queen, de Lisle provides shade to better delineate Jane from the bright, lamblike innocent of her later mythology While her parents were of royal blood and may have been ambitious, her early education and court life don t indicate the training of a monarch so much as the training of a religious leader De Lisle focuses often on the Great Chain of Being when discussing the decisions made for Jane who she married, how she would function at court, and eventually who she would be all things that would be determined by the fierce hierarchy of Tudor society In many ways, just being born the relative of a king decided Jane s fate, and it would determine the lives of her sisters as well In de Lisle s opinion, which is supported with very good research, the middle sister Katherine was really important in the grand scheme than her elder sister When Mary Tudor died and her half sister Elizabeth took the throne, Katherine Grey became the de facto heir to the Virgin Queen Since many were unhappy with the way the succession seemed to be devoid of heirs male, pressure fell on Katherine from both sides those who wanted a king to supplant Elizabeth were hoping for her to marry and procreate, while Elizabeth did everything in her power to keep Katherine single and out of the limelight Katherine defied the queen, was married to someone with similarly strong royal claims, even and gave birth to not one but TWO sons But Elizabeth never gave her royal consent, so poor Katherine was locked away in The Tower, like her unfortunate sister, and died there after her children were falsely declared illegitimate.And then there is Mary, perhaps the least known of the sisters Not only diminutive in biographical detail, she was apparently very small physically, and possible even deformed This didn t keep her from defying Elizabeth just like her elder sister Katherine and marrying without royal permission, and like her sister, being imprisoned and dying away from her husband before the age of 40.While Katherine and Mary did not end so grandly as Jane, I found myself much interested in their half third of the book than Jane s story, which was interesting but felt a rather drawn out by political detail and frequent reiteration of how everyone else has gotten Jane wrong all these years I found myself engaged with them in their simple desires to be married and have a family while being thwarted at every turn simply because they were born into royal blood De Lisle s descriptions of their motivations and characters kept me interested and made me feel connected to them as people, and I often found myself furious with Queen Elizabeth, just as I would have been in a fictional rendition of the same material, which is an impressive feat in historical writing.While Jane will always be the grand mystery of the Grey sisters a mystery fueled by continuing fascination and romanticizing I found the three sisters equally fascinating in their attempts to live normal lives in extraordinary circumstances, and I give de Lisle a lot of credit for bringing their stories together, even if she couldn t resist giving Jane the lion s share I think it is simply this imbalance between the three figures in the narrative, along with a little unnecessary repetition, that prevented this from crossing from 3 star to 4 star quality for me I listened to this particular edition in audio The narrator Wanda McCaddon was excellent.

  5. says:

    Author Leanda de Lisle has written an utterly captivating account of the lives of, Mary, Katherine and Lady Jane Grey in The Sisters Who Would Be Queen Seriously, this is how non fiction is done The fate of the Grey sisters exemplifies the danger of being born perilously close to the throne of England All three would eventually fall victim to the English crown, though in different ways Lady Jane, the most notable of the Grey sisters, was born the eldest and as such was the one the family vested much time and money in In a sense, she was the son they never had and she was ever mindful of the responsibility placed upon her She was deeply religious and had a passion for learning One thing that de Lisle opened my mind to was that perhaps Jane wasn t the total helpless pawn when she was offered the throne Although Jane was very hesitant to take the crown and bypass Mary and Elizabeth and even her own mother, she nonetheless saw this as the only way to keep the Catholic Mary from ruling England and destroying everything that her brother, the Protestant Edward had done Jane was just as strong in her religious convictions as Mary was, which was proved when after the plot to place Jane on the throne failed and Jane was give a chance to spare her life by converting to Christianity, she drew strength from her own faith and was executed on February 12, 1554.De Lisle then goes on to tell the stories of Katherine and Mary, whose own lives would prove just as tragic as their sisters The remaining Grey sisters would dare to defy queens of England for love and would spend the rest of their lives suffering the consequences One thing is for sure, Tudor queens are not to be messed with I highly recommend The Sisters Who Would Be Queen to anyone who enjoys an exquisitely researched and well written historical account, and of course, lovers of the Tudors I really enjoyed de Lisle s writing style and was entranced in the story of the remarkable, yet heartrending, Grey sisters.

  6. says:

    Most Tudor philes are familiar with Lady Jane Grey, the tragic 9 Days Queen bullied by her parents and in laws into usurping the crown from Mary Tudor The story is far complicated however Jane and her 2 younger sisters were considered the true heirs by a significant portion of the British population, and Jane s accession was the honest intent of the young King Edward The Grey sisters had three advantages over Henry VIII s daughter Mary they were unquestionably legitimate, they were Protestant, and they were 100% English with English husbands De Lisle dispels many of the romantic myths that have grown up around Lady Jane though shy, she was no innocent pawn but considered herself a leader of the Protestant cause De Lisle also redeems from obscurity Jane s younger sister Katherine, whose secret marriage to a Protestant nobleman produced a male heir, making the Greys of a threat to Queen Elizabeth s throne than the infamous Mary, Queen of Scots.A fascinating dissection of how gender, religion, and xenophobia continued to threaten the succession for several generations.

  7. says:

    I have always held that truth is stranger than fiction The truth here is that Leanda de Lisle has written a history of Jane, Katherine and Mary Grey, that is a most compelling, frightening and tragic biography The work stands amongst the finest historical writing I have ever come across The Sisters who would be Queen , as the front cover proclaims, really does read like a best selling novel The detail is meticulous Here is a history book that contains a sixteenth century thriller, a most heart rending love story, and a tragedy that Will Shakespeare just could not conjugate to write All set within the royal courts of four Tudor monarchs, with the intrigue and factional stratagems, family fortunes, mixed with the fluid labile worlds of church and state However, the strength of this book is it s ability to touch the humanity of it s three principal subjects Queen Jane, who s brief reign finally ends with execution in The Tower under Mary I Katherine, who marries for love but suffers the withering wrath of Elizabeth I and finally Mary who ends her life in relative poverty in the latter years of the same reign.I just can t recommend this book highly enough.

  8. says:

    Absolutely brilliant This is without a doubt, the most informative, entertaining and enthralling history book I have ever read Leanda De Lisle s incredible history of the Grey family starts with a bit of background on Frances Grey and the family s connections to the Tudors She goes on to describe in pure, sweeping detail, the life and times of each Grey sister Beginning with Jane, De Lisle smashes the stereotypes and shows impressive evidence for a different view of Lady Jane Grey, explaining why we have a love affair for the innocent child woman that we view her as today Continuing, she then chronicles Katherine and Mary Grey s lives, who, endlessly persecuted by Queen Elizabeth, they were seperated from their husbands and Katherine, from her children and generally given a very hard time I think the hardest bit to read in this book is when Mary Grey s husband Keyes is locked up in the Fleet prison, and is given food that had been, perhaps intentionally, dropped in poison to stop dogs from getting mange Horrific This book I would recommend for any Tudor or Monarchy history fans, as it sheds new light on the characters of the period, not just of the Grey sisters, but also of Mary I, Elizabeth I and others.

  9. says:

    I have mixed feelings about this book I just couldn t agree with De Lisle about her views of Jane Grey I understand that Jane Grey was very faithful to her religion, but i can t believe she was ambitious to wants to keep the throne To Mary Tudor, it was a very difficult task to decide Jane Grey s fate For me, she was a victim of her ambitious parents and not a Protestant s Leader But i agree with the De Lisle about Katherine and Mary Grey And no matter how much i read about Queen Elizabeth, my thoughts about her will be the same For me, Elizabeth got the worse part of her mother Anne Boleyn, the worse from her father Henry VIII, and became an awful and sick person Her madness towards the Grey sisters was a terrible thing Elizabeth was constantly feeling threatened, so she used her power to destroy many people At the end, she left England be ruled by bad monarchs and all because she couldn t accept the Grey s children The reading isn t that bad, actually I just think, the way De Lisle writes was a little bit complicated and also dull But it give us lots of interesting informations about the end of Tudor lineage.

  10. says:

    Everyone knows the story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen , the innocent who was maneuvered into claiming the throne by her husband and family and executed by a vengeful Mary Tudor In this book de Lisle argues that Jane was no innocent and no victim, that she was raised from birth fully conscious of her royal blood, her position as heir to the throne under Henry VIII s will and her role at the forefront of the struggle between Protestantism and Catholicism Jane was an exceptionally educated, strong willed and determined woman, who went to her death willing to serve as a martyr to her cause if she could not be queen.One of the things this book highlights is how much of a curse royal blood was for women in the Tudor days After the death of Edward IV, with nothing but female claimants, it was a dangerous time for women like the Grey sisters Jane was executed for claiming the throne, arguably rightfully under the terms of Parliament and Henry VIII s will, which had excluded both Mary and Elizabeth on grounds of illegitimacy Her sisters were both imprisoned for much of their lives for daring to marry for love without the Queen s knowledge and against her wishes, for the danger of them producing a son and heir for the throne was too much for Elizabeth.This is a really good book, as engrossing and fast paced as a novel It may take a certain amount of literary license with some scenes or facts, but it does bring to life two marginalised historical figures in Mary and Katherine, whom I knew nothing about, and explodes a few myths about the Nine Days Queen, who was in fact queen for over two weeks But nine days sounds better, right