This engagement was the second that her father had attempted to gain for her, in an attempt to raise her status and the status of their entire family. It seems that, since Jane's childhood, she was seen as a bit of a disappointment to her family, and I've never read anything about them that makes them seem like likable or kind people. Jane much preferred reading and studying languages than she did to hunting, dancing or carrying on as many other women did. Once in her childhood she complained, "For when I am in the presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such weight, measure and number, even so perfectly as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs and other ways (which I will not name for the honour I bear them) ... that I think myself in hell." Her childhood, needless to say, was harsh. She went to live with Henry VIII's widow, Catherine Parr and her husband Thomas Seymour when she was just a child, where she remained until Catherine Parr's death - at which time Jane acted as her chief mourner. It was suspected that Thomas Seymour was seeking to make little Jane (who was only ten or eleven at the time), his new bride, but he was soon taken away and arrested in 1548 - he would meet his ultimate end at the executioner's block. In the wake of Thomas Seymour's arrest and execution, Jane's father was seeking a betrothal for his daughter, and attempted to attach her to the Lord Protector's oldest son, Edward Seymour. However, nothing ever came of this betrothal and another one was made for her in the Spring of 1553 - this time to one of the Duke of Northumberland's sons, Guildford Dudley. At this time, the Duke (John Dudley) was one of the most powerful men in England, so it makes sense that the ambitious Henry Grey wanted to align his family with the Dudleys. So, on this day in 1553, Jane married Guildford Dudley at the beautiful residence, Durham House on the Thames in front of their families. This was a triple wedding - also marrying next to Jane and Guildford were Jane's sister Catherine (to the Earl of Pembroke), and Guildford's sister Katherine (to Henry Hastings). Although there is very little evidence as to how Jane felt about this marriage, it would not end up well for either family in only a few months. Of course, Jane would be thrust upon the throne of England by her ambitious father-in-law, only to be ripped back down nine days later and imprisoned in the Tower of London, to await her execution.
Lady Jane Grey lived a difficult and tragic life, but perhaps on this one day (though the marriage was not her choice), she knew a little bit of happiness, and was perhaps envisioning a happy future with her new husband.
Happy Anniversary, Jane and Guildford!