Lady Jane Grey’s heartbreaking final words from Tower of London: ‘Hate shall not hurt you’

Prince Philip: Gun salute fired at the Tower of London

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England’s shortest reigning monarch was one of the Tower of London’s most well-known prisoners. From Anne Boleyn to Sir Walter Raleigh to Guy Fawkes, the Tower’s walls have confined a string of famous figures throughout history. The central Tower was built by William the Conqueror after his Norman invasion of England in 1066. Today the site is known as a tourist attraction, although it has still retained many of its historical traditions, including the Yeoman Warders.

The day-to-day activities of the Queen’s guards – also known as Beefeaters – have been followed for a Channel 5 documentary series.

The new season of ‘Inside the Tower of London’, which catches up with the Beefeaters in 2021, continues tonight.

The latest episode looks at the preparations for the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

With the head Yeoman Warder away, new recruit Rob Fuller is left to take the helm for the first time.

Lady Jane Grey’s internment in the Tower came during a tumultuous period for Tudor England.

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Her doomed path was set when in 1553 her dying cousin King Edward VI removed his Catholic half-sister Mary Tudor from the line of succession.

Within days of his death, Jane, aged just 15, was reluctantly crowned Queen.

However, just nine days into her reign, she was deposed by Mary and her supporters, and thrown in the Tower.

Jane was tried for high treason, to which she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death the following year.

Unearthed documents analysed earlier this year reveal the heartbreaking messages she penned in the final days of her life.

Clarck Drieshen, a cataloguer of medieval manuscripts at the British Library, wrote how Jane’s writings show that she tried to “comfort herself” in her final hours.

However, the young queen also used her manuscript, scrawled in a prayer book, to comfort others, according to Mr Drieshen.

He wrote: “In its empty margins she had scribbled farewell messages to her father, also imprisoned at the Tower, and to Sir John Brydges, Lieutenant of the Tower of London, who may have passed it on after her death.”

Jane’s husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, was put to death in the Tower alongside her.

Her father, Henry Grey, was originally pardoned of treason, but was executed at the Tower soon after Jane, following his participation in Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rebellion.

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Mr Drieshen said that “most of Jane’s surviving writings from the Tower concern spiritual advice”, including to Sir John.

The British knight led Jane to the scaffold to be executed and was also the jailer for Sir Thomas.

Mr Drieshen said: “She encouraged him to live in stillness (without succumbing to the temptations of the world) by reminding him of the much greater spiritual joy that can be gained in the afterlife.”

The expert also discussed a Latin poem that Jane was said to have scratched into the wall of her cell with a pin.

He said historical records claim that Jane penned her verse for her husband, Lord Dudley.

The end of her poem reads: “Yf God do helpe thee: Hate shall not hurte thee.

“Yf god do fayle thee: Then shall not Labor prevayle thee.”

‘Inside the Tower of London’ airs on Channel 5 from 8pm-9pm.

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