Guildford Dudley was born to John Dudley
and Jane Guildford. He was the couple’s seventh child his elder brothers Henry, Thomas, John, Ambrose and Robert
and elder sister Mary had been born earlier. Thomas died as a young child.
Guildford’s sister Katherine Dudley was born to John Dudley and Jane Guildford.
1540 (25th around)
Guildford, like his twelve brothers and sisters, was given a Protestant, humanist education. His tutors included the mathematician John Dee, diplomat Thomas Wilson and scholar Roger Ascham.
1544 (7th February)
1547 (28th January)
King Henry VIII died at Whitehall Palace in the early hours of the morning. He was succeeded by his son as King Edward VI. Edward’s maternal uncle, Edward Seymour
declared himself ‘Protector of all the Realm and Dominions of the King’s Majesty’.
1547 (20th February)
Edward was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey. After the ceremony a banquet was held in Westminster Hall.
1549 (11th October)
Edward Seymour, Lord Somerset, Protector of England, was arrested by the Council on a charge of working to further his own aims rather than those of the country.
Guildford’s father, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, became leader of the Council.
John Dudley became Duke of Northumberland. Guildford became Lord Guildford Dudley.
Guildford’s father tried to arrange a marriage between Guildford and Margaret Clifford.
1552 (22nd January)
Edward Seymour was executed by beheading on Tower Hill.
King Edward was taken ill with smallpox. He survived but was weakened by the disease.
Edward was taken ill again and it became clear that he was dying.
Guildford was engaged to Lady Jane Grey
, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary. The betrothal was arranged by Guildford’s father who sought to place Jane on the throne instead of Catholic Mary.
1553 (25th May)
Guildford married Lady Jane Grey at Durham House. In the same ceremony, his sister Katherine married Henry Hastings and Jane’s sister, Katherine, married Lord Herbert.
Devise for the Succession
Edward opposed the succession of either of his half-sisters due to their illegitimacy and Mary’s Catholicism. This document passed the succession to Lady Jane Grey, granddaughter of Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary in the event of there being no legitimate male heir on his death.
1553 (15th June)
Edward summoned his leading councillors and made them sign a declaration to uphold the Devise for the Succession on his death.
1553 (6th July)
King Edward VI died.
1553 (10th July)
Guildford’s wife, Jane was proclaimed Queen of England. She and Guildford entered the Tower of London to await their coronation. However, Jane declared that she would not allow Guildford to be King and that he would be given the title Duke of Clarence. Guildford was angry and isolated himself from Jane.
1553 (10th July)
Henry VIII’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor, sent a letter to the Council saying that by the terms of the Act of Succession of 1544 she was now queen. She called for their obedience and loyalty.
1553 (11th July)
Mary Tudor, left Hunsdon and rode to East Anglia where she called for support.
1553 (14th July)
The Duke of Northumberland left London at the head of a force to capture Mary Tudor. However, after he had left London the Privy Council, seeing that popular support was for Mary, decided to support Mary’s claim.
1553 (19th July)
Mary Tudor, was proclaimed Queen.
1553 (19th July)
Jane and her husband were arrested on a charge of treason. Guildford was imprisoned in the Bell Tower while Jane was imprisoned in the Gentleman Gaoler’s Quarters of the Tower of London.
1553 (23rd July)
John Dudley and his sons surrendered at Cambridge. They were imprisoned in the Tower of London.
1553 (18th August)
John Dudley and his sons were charged and found guilty of treason.
1553 (8th August)
King Edward VI was buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey.
1553 (22nd August)
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, was executed.
1553 (13th November)
Jane was tried for high treason. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death. The date of her execution was not set because Mary believed that she and her husband were innocent parties in a plot by Northumberland to take control of the throne and she remained imprisoned in the Gentleman Gaoler’s Quarters of the Tower of London.
Thomas Wyatt the younger organised a rebellion against Queen Mary’s plans to marry King Philip of Spain
. He was supported by Jane’s father, the duke of Suffolk. The rebellion was suppressed but Mary decide she had no choice but to execute Jane and Guildford Dudley to prevent them becoming a focus for further anti-Catholic rebellions.
1554 (12th February)
Guildford was beheaded on Tower Hill, London.