Quiz about The Forbidden Loves of the Grey Sisters
Quiz about The Forbidden Loves of the Grey Sisters

The Forbidden Loves of the Grey Sisters Quiz


Caught in Tudor intrigues, serving in the courts of Henry VIII's daughters, Katherine and Mary Grey knew both love and tragedy. Do you know the story of Lady Jane Grey's little sisters?

A multiple-choice quiz by CellarDoor. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
CellarDoor
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
394,633
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
233
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 45 (9/10), Guest 172 (7/10), Guest 211 (1/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. The fates of the three Grey sisters - Jane, Katherine and Mary - were bound up in their heritage, and specifically in their claim to the English throne. Why were these girls possible royal heirs? Hint

They were descended from the Princes in the Tower.
Their mother was formerly one of Henry VIII's six wives.
Their grandmother was Henry VIII's younger sister.
They were Henry VIII's illegitimate daughters.

2. When Henry VIII's son, Edward VI, died, there was an immediate succession crisis. Henry VIII had named Edward's sister Mary the next heir, but Edward named Jane Grey. Whatever happened to Lady Jane? Hint

She was Queen of England for nine days, then imprisoned and later executed.
She was Queen of England for six months, until she died of natural causes.
She declined the throne and lived a long life as a nun.
She fought Mary in battle and died in armor.

3. Katherine and her older sister Jane actually married at the same time, in May of 1553. What happened to Katherine's marriage when it became clear that Jane would not be Queen? Hint

It was annulled.
They were granted a divorce.
It ended with the execution of her husband.
They remained married until her husband died of natural causes.

4. Mary I ruled for five years and then died in 1558, leaving the throne to her half-sister Elizabeth I. Elizabeth didn't name an heir, but the sisters Katherine and Mary Grey were next in line according to Henry VIII's will. Why were they more appealing heirs to the most powerful English nobles than their Scottish cousins? Hint

The Grey sisters were Protestant.
The Grey sisters had more royalty in their bloodline.
The Grey sisters were more submissive.
The Grey sisters were trained in martial arts.

5. As heir presumptive to Elizabeth I, Katherine Grey had to be exquisitely careful to obey the Queen's wishes and avoid entanglement in conspiracies - real or imagined. But as a young woman at court, it was only natural for her to fall in love. Whom did Katherine secretly marry, while awaiting permission from the Queen? Hint

A favorite of the Queen, Robert Dudley
An important young nobleman, Edward Seymour
A sorcerer at the court, John Dee
A young actor, Will Shakespeare

6. Eventually, inevitably, Katherine Grey's secret marriage was found out. How was it discovered? Hint

Katherine became pregnant.
Katherine refused to make a political marriage in Scotland.
Katherine was discovered in her husband's chambers.
Katherine's husband refused to make a political marriage in France.

7. The discovery of Katherine Grey's secret marriage was a catastrophe. She was imprisoned in the Tower of London; when he returned from his voyage abroad, her husband was sent there too, to different rooms. Yet the Tower was not entirely bleak. What unexpected, happy event took place there? Hint

Katherine's child won a baby beauty pageant.
Katherine and her husband married officially with the Queen in attendance.
Katherine and her husband conceived a second child.
Katherine worked her way up to become warden of the entire castle.

8. After their unlucky start, what happened to Katherine Grey and her little family? Hint

The Queen never forgave them, and they were separated and never reunited.
The Queen forgave them, and for a time Katherine was her official heir.
At the Queen's insistence, Katherine renounced her marriage and became a nun.
The Queen had Katherine and her husband executed as traitors.

9. The youngest Grey sister, Mary, also lived at court, also found love, and also feared she'd never get royal permission to marry. Whom did Mary wed in secret? Hint

A Spanish diplomat, Miguel Cervantes
A former priest, Francis de Sales
A powerful nobleman, Ronald Howard
A commoner, Thomas Keyes

10. When Elizabeth I discovered Mary Grey's secret marriage, the happy couple was in terrible trouble. Mary's husband was sent to the notorious Fleet prison. What happened to Mary? Hint

She was held under house arrest until after her husband died.
She was also confined in the Fleet.
She was beheaded.
She remained with the court but was relentlessly bullied.


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The fates of the three Grey sisters - Jane, Katherine and Mary - were bound up in their heritage, and specifically in their claim to the English throne. Why were these girls possible royal heirs?

Answer: Their grandmother was Henry VIII's younger sister.

It's worth a quick look at the family tree to understand the stakes. The Tudor dynasty began with Henry VII, a Lancastrian who ended the Wars of the Roses by defeating Richard III and marrying Elizabeth of York. The power couple had four children who survived into adolescence: Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Mary. Arthur died before their father. Margaret married the King of Scotland. Mary married the elderly King of France, but when he died, she seized the opportunity to marry for love. Her chosen husband was Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk and Henry VIII's dear friend. Mary's brother was furious, and imposed a ruinous fine on the couple, but they managed to remain together.

Mary and Charles had two sons who died in childhood, and two daughters who lived to marry and have children of their own. The elder, Frances Brandon, married Henry Grey, who was created Duke of Suffolk after his father-in-law's death. After two children who died in infancy, they had three girls, the sisters Jane, Katherine and Mary: great-nieces to Henry VIII.
2. When Henry VIII's son, Edward VI, died, there was an immediate succession crisis. Henry VIII had named Edward's sister Mary the next heir, but Edward named Jane Grey. Whatever happened to Lady Jane?

Answer: She was Queen of England for nine days, then imprisoned and later executed.

As Edward VI was dying in 1553, 16-year-old Jane married Guildford Dudley, the son of the Duke of Northumberland - who was even then maneuvering for Jane to be named Edward's heir. Upon his death in July, Northumberland and Suffolk (Jane's father) led a group of powerful nobles in proclaiming her Queen, reportedly over her objections. Queen Jane had nine days to rule, until Mary rallied her troops and the Privy Council switched their loyalty. Northumberland was executed for treason later that summer; Jane and Guildford followed in February, after Jane's father joined a rebellion against Queen Mary. (He was executed, too.)

Jane's example was a chilling one for her younger sisters, the next heirs in her line. As Jane herself wrote to Katherine, the day before her execution: "Trust not that the tenderness of your age shall lengthen your life ... Labour always and learn to die."
3. Katherine and her older sister Jane actually married at the same time, in May of 1553. What happened to Katherine's marriage when it became clear that Jane would not be Queen?

Answer: It was annulled.

Katherine was 12 years old at that double wedding; her groom, Henry, Lord Herbert (heir to the Earl of Pembroke), was perhaps 14 or 15. They had been betrothed for about a year, but with the family making a play for the throne through Jane, they wanted to lock in Pembroke's support.

Of course, when Jane was dethroned and the Grey family was in disgrace, the alliance no longer seemed quite so appealing to Pembroke. Over the objections of both young spouses, he insisted on an annulment. Legally, it was as if the marriage had never happened.
4. Mary I ruled for five years and then died in 1558, leaving the throne to her half-sister Elizabeth I. Elizabeth didn't name an heir, but the sisters Katherine and Mary Grey were next in line according to Henry VIII's will. Why were they more appealing heirs to the most powerful English nobles than their Scottish cousins?

Answer: The Grey sisters were Protestant.

The religious pendulum imposed on England by the Tudor monarchs was tremendously disruptive. Henry VIII broke with Rome, forcing the country with him, and under his son Edward VI the Protestant nobles remained in power. Jane Grey would have been a continuation of Protestant rule, but Mary I restored Catholics' freedom to worship, at the expense of Protestants' safety and freedom. Now, under Elizabeth I, England was officially Protestant again, and the Protestant lords had no desire for the Tudor heirs from Scotland - Mary, Queen of Scots, and Margaret Douglas, the descendants of Henry's older sister Margaret - to bring back the Roman Catholic Church and put their rivals in power.

As the most senior Protestant Tudor cousin (not counting her mother Frances, who had renounced her royal rights in favor of Jane), Katherine Grey was the presumed Protestant heir to Elizabeth. This put her into a position of importance, but also great danger. Elizabeth's hard early life, and recent English history, had taught her that any heir was also a possible usurper.
5. As heir presumptive to Elizabeth I, Katherine Grey had to be exquisitely careful to obey the Queen's wishes and avoid entanglement in conspiracies - real or imagined. But as a young woman at court, it was only natural for her to fall in love. Whom did Katherine secretly marry, while awaiting permission from the Queen?

Answer: An important young nobleman, Edward Seymour

Edward Seymour, a year older than Katherine, was one of *those* Seymours. Jane Seymour, Henry VIII's third queen, was his aunt; his father was Lord Protector to his first cousin Edward VI, until his fall and execution. (Katherine and Edward both had fathers who were beheaded for treason - a sign of the times, and no doubt something the young sweethearts could bond over.) They asked permission from Queen Elizabeth to marry; Katherine's mother Frances begged it as a deathbed gift.

Permission did not come. The reason is not known, but Elizabeth may have feared that an alliance between her heir presumptive and the powerful Seymour family would lead to a rebellion.

Katherine and Edward, though, were young and in love. They could not bear to wait. They married in secret in 1560, with Edward's sister Jane the only witness. Soon afterward Edward was sent to the European mainland, while Katherine remained with the court.
6. Eventually, inevitably, Katherine Grey's secret marriage was found out. How was it discovered?

Answer: Katherine became pregnant.

Katherine discovered her pregnancy in early 1561, while Edward was abroad. She was twenty years old and terrified - as heir presumptive, she knew she wasn't supposed to marry without the Queen's permission. She hid her pregnancy with what must have been incredible cunning. Even in a court swirling with gossip, her condition only became known when she disclosed it to two trusted confidants. First, she begged friend of the family Bess Hardwick for help, but Bess had no clever ideas and made it clear she didn't want to be involved. Next she turned to the Queen's favorite, Robert Dudley, the brother of Guildford Dudley who had wed her sister Jane and died for it, and asked him to intercede.

He spoke to the Queen, but the Queen was not amused. She didn't believe Katherine's tale of young love; she smelled a conspiracy.
7. The discovery of Katherine Grey's secret marriage was a catastrophe. She was imprisoned in the Tower of London; when he returned from his voyage abroad, her husband was sent there too, to different rooms. Yet the Tower was not entirely bleak. What unexpected, happy event took place there?

Answer: Katherine and her husband conceived a second child.

Their first child, Edward Seymour (1561-1612), was born soon after his mother was imprisoned and was confined with her and her pets. Despite this inauspicious start he lived a full life. In a curious twist, there did end up being a monarch from his line: Queen Elizabeth II, descended from this family via her mother.

Edward the elder, imprisoned elsewhere in the Tower, yearned for his little family. He bribed the Tower guards to allow visits, and spent enough time in his wife's rooms to give his son a younger brother. Thomas Seymour (1563-1600) also had a full life ahead of him, but his birth infuriated the Queen. With two strong sons by a highborn husband, Katherine was becoming an increasingly formidable possible rival - and there were people in England arguing that she should be on the throne.
8. After their unlucky start, what happened to Katherine Grey and her little family?

Answer: The Queen never forgave them, and they were separated and never reunited.

The births of little Edward and Thomas - an heir and a spare for Elizabeth I's heir presumptive - were too much for the Queen to take. When plague broke out in London in 1563, she ordered the family to be moved to house arrest in the more sanitary countryside, but this apparent mercy was really an excuse to split the family apart. The two Edwards (the father and the eldest son) were sent to live with the elder Edward's mother, while Katherine and baby Thomas were sent to her uncle. That second pair moved several times to different houses, though they were confined in all of them and not allowed to contact the rest of their family.

Despairing of ever seeing her husband or eldest son again, Katherine died in 1568, at age 27. Some contemporary sources suggest that she starved herself. On her death, little Thomas was reunited with her father and brother, who were soon freed. The marriage had been annulled with the excuse that it had not been performed legally and the priest had not been found, which rendered the children illegitimate and removed them from the line of succession.

Edward remarried twice, both times in secret - he and his second wife Frances Howard concealed it for almost ten years! He died in 1621, at age 81, and is buried with Katherine in Salisbury Cathedral.
9. The youngest Grey sister, Mary, also lived at court, also found love, and also feared she'd never get royal permission to marry. Whom did Mary wed in secret?

Answer: A commoner, Thomas Keyes

Mary was about 20, and Thomas about 40, when they married secretly in 1565. Trying to avoid the forced annulment that Katherine and Edward had suffered, they made sure they had lots of witnesses - but, perhaps as a result, it was only a few months before the Queen discovered their secret.

Mary had no doubt hoped that marriage to a commoner - Thomas was the Queen's sergeant porter, with the court's security in his charge - would give the Queen no grounds for paranoia. She also knew others would see it as a strange match: Mary was quite short and hunchbacked, probably a little person, while Thomas was tall even for a modern man at 6'8" (2.03 m). In the event, though, Elizabeth I was just as furious with Mary as she had been with Katherine.
10. When Elizabeth I discovered Mary Grey's secret marriage, the happy couple was in terrible trouble. Mary's husband was sent to the notorious Fleet prison. What happened to Mary?

Answer: She was held under house arrest until after her husband died.

William Cecil, Elizabeth I's chief advisor, wrote: "The Sergeant Porter, being the biggest gentleman of this court, has married secretly the Lady Mary Grey, the least of all the court ... The offence is very great." The Queen took the disrespect to the crown very seriously. Thomas's cell at the Fleet was too small for him, and his imprisonment destroyed his health. Mary, sent to various country houses whose lords were entrusted as jailers, was physically more comfortable, but emotionally distressed. Both parties begged for mercy, but to no avail.

Thomas was finally released from the Fleet in 1568, and died in 1571 aged about 47. Mary was finally freed in 1573. She asked permission to raise Thomas's children, from his first marriage, but this was denied. After a time she bought her own house in London, where she apparently lived in peace on a small royal allowance. Mary died in 1578, during an outbreak of the plague, at about 33 years of age.
Source: Author CellarDoor

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