Lady Jane Grey was the daughter in law of the Duke of Northumberland. The duke persuaded King Edward VI to name Jane his successor and declare both Elizabeth and Mary illegitimate. Lady Jane was Henry Viii grandniece and cousin to Edward VI. On July 6, 1553, Edward VI died of consumption at the age of 16.
Lady Jane was tutored by the best. She wrote and spoke both Greek and Latin at an early age. She was treated harshly by her parents. She lived in the household of Catherine Parr (6th wife of Henry VIII) at 9 years old. In 1548, Catherine died in 1548. She was made the ward of Thomas Seymour (widow of Catherine Parr). He planned to marry her to Edward VI. After Thomas Seymour was executed, Jane went home to her parents. Her parents forced her to marry Guilford Dudley, son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. The Duke managed to convince Edward to change the succession and name Lady Jane and her male children as his successor passing over Mary and Elizabeth. Lady Jane fainted when she heard she was to be Queen. Edward died on July 6, 1553. On July 10, Lady Jane was proclaimed queen.
Jane Grey had a small claim to the throne. She was the granddaughter of Mary and Charles Brandon and Great granddaughter of Henry VII. Mary Tudor was Henry VIII sister. Jane was not named in the succession though.
The succession according to Henry’s will was to go to Mary who was a devout Catholic. Northumberland and many of the other nobles feared retaliation from Mary. They feared that Mary would confiscate the nobles’ lands and return these lands to the Church.
Lady Jane was a stout protestant however she was a victim of Northumberland's folly. Upon Edward’s death, Mary I arrived in London and was able to rally the people in her defense. Northumberland's supported faded away. Northumberland raised an army but by the time he arrived in London support for his cause dwindled. Northumberland was arrested along with 2 other colleagues and executed. Jane was easily persuaded to give back the crown which she did not want in the first place.
Jane went to the Tower of London for her coronation and remain there as a prisoner until she was executed.
Mary forgave Jane and her husband for their part in the uprising and spared their lives. Lady Jane, her husband, Guilford Dudley and father were arrested and sent to the tower. However, soon after the first uprising, in early February 1554, Thomas Wyatt's rebellion happened. It was clear to Mary that Lady Jane was a threat to her crown. Mary signed the death warrants and Lady Jane and Dudley were beheaded on February 12, 1554.
The Movie Lady Jane was good but not completely historically accurate. It is available in DVD.