‘My Lady Jane’ Season 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Was Jane Grey Dead Or Alive?

Historical comedy dramas with a hint of dark humor are always fun to watch. Only British writers and filmmakers can get away with presenting real-life historical stories by twisting the narrative. The Prime Video original series chronicles the life of Lady Jane Grey, who served as the queen of England for just 9 days. The story presents the lead-up to her coronation and her life as a monarch. My Lady Jane comes under the genre of alternate history, which means the makers take real-life characters from history and change many aspects of their stories, especially the ending.

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Spoilers Ahead


Who was Lady Jane Grey?

Lady Jane Grey was a healer who studied the various medicinal uses of local herbs and flowers. She aspired to be a published author and a healer, living alone far away from her castle, but destiny and her mother had other plans. Jane’s mother was forced to depend on Lord Lester, a nobleman next in line of the seat previously occupied by her father, who’d passed away. Jane’s mother, however, decided to get her engaged to the son of Lord Dudley. Lord Dudley was an ambitious man who wanted Lady Jane in his family for she was the closest kin and a good friend of the sickly current monarch, King Edward VI. 

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What did Jane do to stop her marriage?

Lady Jane asked her friend, King Edward, to stop the wedding. To her shock, the King advised her to marry, as it was her duty as a daughter to carry forward the bloodline of her family. An agitated Jane had no option but to take drastic steps and planned to elope with Susannah, her maid and her best friend. Susannah and Jane are unfortunately caught, and the young maid escapes by turning into an eagle and flying away. Susannah was an Ethen, a concept of a human turning into an animal, or any other living creature. Something similar to the Animagi in the Harry Potter books and movies. Ethens were people born with the power to transform themselves at their own whim. These people were ostracized and kept away from mingling with other people who were considered normal, as per the decree of King Henry VIII. The Ethens was an allegory for the Lutherans, aka the Protestants, who were a growing population in England back in the day, many of whom were hunted down and torched to death. Any person harboring an Ethen was to be sentenced to death. Unbeknownst to many, there were many Ethens in the palace yet to be caught. 


What did Jane witness at the bar?

Lady Jane visited a local tavern, where a fight broke out between the king’s guard and the patrons. The fight led to many people coming out as Ethen and turning into animals. In the chaos of battle, a young man rescued Lady Jane, and she found him attractive. She had to push the man away, but she could not get his beautiful face out of her mind. The bar fight was her introduction to the knowledge there were countless Ethen around her, and one of them happened to be Susannah, in the form of an eagle.

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Who was Jane getting married to?

Jane had no option but to get married to Lord Guildford Dudley, and during the ceremony, her groom happened to be the very man she met at the bar. Initially, the couple couldn’t stand each other, as the alliance was forced on them. They spent the first night separately just out of spite for each other. 


What was Guildford Dudley’s secret?

The next day after Jane and Guildford’s wedding, she found her husband in a stable. Within seconds, she was a witness to him transforming into a horse. To her rude shock, she learned Guildford was an Ethen himself, and his father had made sure this remained a secret. Guildford, however, agreed to marry Lady Jane, as his father convinced him she was a healer and would somehow get him the cure for his ailment. Unlike other Ethens, Guildford could not transform into a horse of his own free will, as he remains a horse during the daytime and turns into a human after sunset. There was an attraction between him and Jane, but neither gave in to it as they agreed to stay together till she found the cure for what he considered was a disease. 

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How did King Edward learn he was not sick?

Since Edward was getting sick, Lord Seymour of his court was keen on finalizing the documents on succession. Seymour was keen to put Mary on the throne, while Lord Dudley tried to manipulate Edward to make Jane his successor, as she was the closest legitimate heir. He claimed Mary to be born out of wedlock and Elizabeth to be the daughter of an Ethen, which made their claims false. Edward was surprised to learn his pet dog, Petunia, was an Ethen herself, who claimed to have come to protect him on the orders of his grandmother, who was still alive and living as an Ethen nun away from the capital. Petunia helped him find out he was being poisoned regularly, which was making his body weaker. Edward was keen to find out who in his court was plotting against him. Initially, he assumed Jane’s father-in-law was the one plotting his death, and Lord Dudley was thrown into prison. 


Who were Princess Mary’s allies?

The audience learns that it was Princess Mary who was plotting the death of her stepbrother, King Edward VI. She believed her claim to the throne to be the most valid. Behind the doors of her room, she was a revenge-driven, vile woman whose only goal was to be the first female monarch. Her allies were Lord Seymour, who happens to be her lover as well, and her sister, Princess Elizabeth. Elizabeth, however, was half-heartedly working with Mary, as she and Edward shared a grandmother. Elizabeth also knew that, if given a chance, Mary might get rid of her sister as well. 


Was Princess Mary successful in murdering her brother?

Princess Mary tried several times to get rid of her brother, King Edward, but failed. She also plotted to trap Lord Dudley by branding him as the person trying to get rid of the king. The King soon learned that it was his sister who wanted him dead. The king, however, was last seen to have jumped from the window of his room, and Mary and Lord Seymour assumed the monarch was dead.


Who was the monarch as per Edward’s will?

Mary announced the news of his death and was eager to open the fake will she had drafted in the name of her brother, which would pronounce her the next monarch. However, the real will was with Elizabeth, and it was assumed Edward may have asked her to keep it discreet. Elizabeth, as an Edward loyalist, shared his real will, which stated Lady Jane Grey was to be the next Queen of England. 

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Was King Edward alive?

King Edward VI was indeed alive and had been saved by his grandmother, who was an Ethen herself and a nun at a convent. However, there were many spies in the convent, and Edward planned to get away from the place as well. Edward VI was gay, and he was attracted to another Ethen working in the convent named Fitz. Fitz helped him come back to the castle in the hope of confronting Mary. Sadly, no one recognized him since many assumed King Edward VI to be dead. King Edward VI stayed away from the castle and hoped to come back with the support of the Scottish to dethrone Mary. 


What was Jane’s plan of action for becoming monarch?

Lady Jane and Lord Guildford were close to consummating their marriage. As soon as they got physically and emotionally close, Jane was quick to remind him of their arrangement of getting a divorce or finding the cure for his ailment. Lady Jane was now the Queen of England, and they could not even consider being divorced, keeping in mind the noise it created during the time of Henry VIII. She soon understood the agony Guildford faced daily because of him being an Ethen. Apart from these concerns, Jane wanted to investigate the death of her cousin and best friend, King Edward VI. With the help of Guildford, she learned of a device used by Henry VIII that Seymour and Princess Mary used to write letters in code language. The deciphering helped them conclude that Princess Mary and Seymour had plotted to murder King Edward VI using poison.

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How did she tackle Princess Mary?

Queen Jane was now aware her life was in danger if Princess Mary was in her vicinity. She could not trust Lord Seymour or the staff around her. She initially placed loyal men around her, including her father-in-law, Lord Dudley. Jane soon learned Mary had a hatred for Ethens because Elizabeth’s mother was one. Queen Anne Boleyn was the reason why Mary’s father, Henry VIII, divorced her mother, Queen Catherine. Ever since, she’d bottled up her hatred for Ethens. Queen Jane was quick to pick up on this behavior of hers and planned to use it against her. Any one act of violence by Mary against Jane could be termed treason, and the princess would soon be history. On the night of the celebration of Queen Jane’s coronation, she invited many Ethens to the palace as her way of working with them. As expected, Princess Mary showcased her rage towards Jane but walked away. The next day, Jane planned to arrest Mary on charges of murdering King Edward, but the princess had fled. 


Did Jane have a cure for Guildford’s ethenism?

On meeting the Ethens on the night of the party for Queen Jane’s coronation, Guildford was desperately looking to meet with people with the same condition, as he was hoping to ask questions about a potential cure. He never received a proper response from anyone. Susannah was back in Jane’s life, and both conversed over the need to find a cure for their ailment. Susannah was offended by Jane’s thinking about Ethens, and claimed that since people were born with it, there was likely never going to be a cure either needed or found. This could also be an allegory for the LGBTQ+ community, which has suffered through forced conversion therapy or had to consume medication against their will to ‘cure’ their condition. Jane was sad to know there was never any cure out there for Guildford, and she felt like she had let him down, both as a wife and a monarch. She shared the news with him, and a dejected Guildford left the castle. 

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Why was Queen Jane arrested?

Queen Jane, in the wake of Ethens being made part of the community, was on the verge of getting rid of the division laws. She was also heartbroken over Guildford as he was raised to feel like he would never be expected. Jane’s plan to get rid of division laws created a negative opinion as she hadn’t bothered consulting the people working with her. Lord Norfolk and Seymour were tired of explaining the repercussions of her moves. Jane’s mother and Guildford’s family were the only people who were aware of his condition. Presence of the Ethens was a cause of concern for others, thanks to the taboo and prejudice. Jane’s remaining allies in the court had fled and joined forces with Mary, who was seen accompanied by a large army. As expected, Jane was dethroned and arrested by Mary, who proclaimed herself to be the Queen and planned to execute her cousin. 


Why was Jane sentenced to death?

Lord Norfolk, who wanted to portray Queen Mary as the benevolent one, was initially unable to control her aggressive behavior as she was keen on executing every Ethen in her sight. Lord Norfolk and Lord Seymour suggested she offer a public trial to Jane, which would send out the right kind of message about Mary to the people. The people in the castle knew Mary as a power-hungry tyrant and this image was not to be leaked to the public. Halfheartedly Mary agreed to the trial and Jane prepared for it as well. The trial declared her not guilty, but she was sentenced to exile. Thanks to Jane’s mother, who was a conniving woman formulated a plan to save her oldest daughter from a horrible fate. 

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Jane and her mother had never had a good relationship, but the latter wanted her bloodline to remain strong, and, in that pursuit, she managed to save the life of her daughter. Guildford was also back from his soul-searching trip and claimed he’d stay by Jane’s side all the time. Only a while after her exile was announced, Queen Mary sentenced Jane to death for harboring Guildford, an Ethen, as per the division laws. With Queen Mary taking over the throne, the division laws were reinstated. Mary used this law to her benefit, but Lord Norfolk was not in favor of this proposition, and he was killed for speaking up against her plans. Mary was on her way to becoming a tyrant, and this could have been the reason why the real-life Queen Mary I was branded Bloody Mary. Getting rid of the Ethens was equivalent to Mary torching Lutherans to death during her reign in England. 


Was Jane Grey dead or alive?

Jane Grey was kept at the Tower of London, the spot where Queen Anne Boleyn resided days before her execution. Jane was also meant to be executed in the same manner. However, many negotiations were going on between Jane’s mother and Queen Mary to make sure the ex-monarch was given safe passage. This was the most tedious part of the show, as the idea of Jane wanting to live and having many people come to her support was overplayed. Queen Mary was playing her cruel games as she promised Jane she would let her meet Guildford one last time before her death. The current Queen was a masochist, as she wanted to torture Jane before she was killed. Jane becoming Queen was Edward’s fault, as the young lady was never keen on becoming a monarch, as she knew many would take advantage of her, especially her mother. 

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Jane’s youngest sister Margaret, who was the street-smartest of the two siblings, was chosen to be Lady-in-Waiting for Queen Mary, which came as a shock to Jane and her mother. Margaret was not a fan of her mother, just like Jane and her sister Catherine. Their mother only bartered with them for the sake of power and never asked for their consent before making any decision. By becoming Lady-in-Waiting, Margaret could learn court politics and might become a power player in the game of thrones in the future. Margaret still loved her sister Jane and revealed Queen Mary’s plans to go ahead with the execution of Jane and Guildford at the same time. Jane, however, tried to break out of the tower many times, but her plans were thwarted. She wanted to convey to her husband that she loved him, as she had never shared these words with Guildford. 

My Lady Jane season 1 ended with Jane being brought to the chopping block, and Guildford about to be burned to death. Jane was rescued by a flock of birds who were Ethens, one of whom was her friend Susannah, who wanted to help her best friend of many years. Susannah knew Jane had put in a lot of work to make sure Ethen could be treated like a normal people. As a reward for her work, Susannah rescued Jane by blinding the executioner. It created chaos, and Jane tried to untie Guildford from the ignited pyre. The chaos only led to many Ethens coming out in support of Jane and Guildford. According to history, Jane was beheaded, but since the genre of this show was alternate history, the makers changed the ending. Guildford turned into a horse as per his wish and rode away with Jane. This was his long-standing wish, to be able to turn into an animal at will, which was the Ethens’ superpower. With Jane being alive, as was King Edward VI, Queen Mary’s seat was not safe. This indicates there would be season two that would further expand on the story of Jane, Elizabeth, Edward, and Queen Mary and their game of thrones. 

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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