The death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into uncertainty because of the frail health and minority of his heir Edward VI. Anticipating the young king's imminent death from Consumption and anxious to keep England true to the Reformation by keeping the Catholic Mary from the throne, John Dudley, Lord President of the Council, second only to the king in power, marries his son Guilford to Lady Jane Grey and has the royal physician keep the young king alive (though in excruciating pain) long enough to get him to name Lady Jane his heir.
Jane is not happy with the proposed marriage, and has to be coerced by her parents. At first Jane and Guilford decide to treat this purely as a marriage of convenience, but then fall deeply in love. Jane is placed on the throne after Edward dies. She is troubled by the questionable legality of her accession; but, in consultation with Guilford, she turns the tables on John Dudley and the others who thought to manipulate her like a puppet.
After only nine days, however, Queen Jane is abandoned by her council precisely because of her reformist designs for the country. The council, then, goes over to Mary I of England, who at first imprisons Jane and Guilford. After Jane's father, the Duke of Suffolk, raises a rebellion to restore her to the throne — presumably in concert with Thomas Wyatt's rebellion, Mary has Jane and Guilford executed at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador.
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