Lady Jane and the Danger of Chronological Snobbery

It’s not always about the patriarchy for strong women in history.


John Stonestreet

Timothy D Padgett

According to a new trailer on Amazon Prime, U.K., a new show based on the life of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for nine days, will bring history up to date.  

The real Lady Jane was highly intelligent, fluent in both Greek and Latin, familiar with other languages, and could hold her own in theological discussions. Thanks to court intrigues and a tenuous claim to the crown, she became queen as arguably the first woman to reign over England in her own name. However, her time in power was quite short: she was beheaded at just 16.  

The new series based on a recent novel presents Lady Jane as a crass, lustful, manipulative force of girl power pushing back against the patriarchy. The producers probably think they’re being clever, but their attempt to craft an “edgy” Jane only offers a pale imitation of a truly strong woman of history. And that tends to be the tragic and pathetic irony of chronological snobbery. 


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