Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dudley, Guildford

DUDLEY, Lord GUILDFORD (d. 1554), husband of Lady Jane Grey, was the fourth son of the powerful John Dudley [q. v.], duke of Northumberland. When the duke was at the height of his power, in Edward VI's reign, Lord Guildford was his only unmarried son. In July 1552 the duke determined on a match between him and Margaret Clifford, grandniece of Henry VIII and daughter of Henry, first earl of Cumberland [q. v.] Edward VI interested himself in the scheme, and wrote on the subject to both the Duke of Northumberland and the Earl of Cumberland. But the duke's views changed. Margaret Clifford early in 1553 was offered by the duke to his younger brother, Sir Andrew Dudley [see under Dudley, Edmund], and on 21 May (Whitsunday) Lord Guildford was married by his father's direction to Lady Jane Grey, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk [see Dudley, Lady Jane]. This marriage was part of the desperate project of Northumberland for transferring the succession of the crown from the Tudor family to his own. By the instrument which he prevailed on the dying young king to sign (21 June) the crown was to go from both the king's sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, to the heirs male of Frances, duchess of Suffolk, provided that any should be born before the king's death; failing which it was to pass to the Lady Jane Grey, the duchess's daughter, and her heirs male. The Lady Jane, during the brief royalty to which this plot gave rise, though attached to her youthful husband, refused to grant him the title of king, affirming that it lay out of her power (Froude, vi. 16). But in a despatch dated 15 July 1553 Sir Philip Hoby and Sir Richard Moryson, the English envoys at Brussels, gave him the title of king. After the defeat of the enterprise Guildford was committed to the Tower, with his wife; and on 13 Nov. 1553 was led, along with her, his brothers Ambrose and Henry, and Archbishop Cranmer, to the Guildhall, where he was arraigned of treason, and pleaded guilty. The sentence was not carried out until the commotion of Wyatt, in the following spring, had caused fresh alarm. He was then beheaded on Tower Hill 12 Feb., immediately before the execution of the Lady Jane. A portrait, exhibited at the National Portrait Exhibition of 1866, is in the possession of Baron North.

[Nichols's Queen Jane and Queen Mary (Camd. Soc.), pp. 32, 34, 55; Nichols's Literary Remains of Edward VI (Roxburghe Club), clxv, clxviii, cxc; authorities under Dudley, Lady Jane, and notes supplied by the Rev. Canon R. W. Dixon.]