Lord Guildford Dudley (c.1535-1554)
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Lord Guildford Dudley (c.1535-1554)

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The 4th son of John, Duke of Northumberland, Lord Guildford was married to Lady Jane Grey as part of his father's plan to alter the succession of the English throne in favour of the Dudley family. He was executed in 1554 a year after Mary I's accession.

This portrait, inscribed as Lord Guildford Dudley, has since been acknowledged to be a copy of a portrait of an unidentified man, painted between 1580 and 1590.

(2) Lord Guildford Dudley (c.1535-1554)

Additional Information on
Lord Guildford Dudley (c.1535-1554)

Lord Dudley was the son of the Duke of Northumberland and was married off in 1553 to Lady Jane Grey, the great-granddaughter of Henry VII, as part of the Duke's scheme to control the crown. The Duke persuaded the dying Edward VI to declare that the successors to the Duchess of Suffolk of which Jane was the eldest daughter and therefore the heir as she had no male progeny, should inherit the throne in preference to Henry VIII's daughters, Mary and Elizabeth who were in fact the rightful heirs.

Naturally the Duchess of Suffolk and her husband were in favour of the scheme, but there is no evidence that the two young nobles were anything other than pawns in the game, which stopped abruptly when Northumberland could not gather sufficient support to prevent Mary from taking control and becoming Queen. Northumberland was executed almost immediately and Lady Jane and her father were sent to the Tower, but he was soon pardoned, because he had, without difficulty, persuaded his daughter to relinquish the throne. Dudley and she were then convicted of high treason and, when she pleaded guilty, she was sentenced to death.

The sentence was not carried out immediately, probably because there was considerable public sympathy for her, if not for her husband, however the complicity of her father a few months later in 1554 in Sir Thomas Wyatt's revolt, presented Queen Mary with the opportunity to execute first Dudley and Lady Jane and, just a few days later, her father (Northumberland).

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