Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The duke of Northumberland

The duke of Northumberland, the leader of forces opposing Mary Tudor. He is executed after she becomes queen of England.

Guilford Dudley

Guilford Dudley, the son of Northumberland, who wishes him to become king. He is pardoned after the defeat of Northumberland but executed after failure of his own later plot against Mary.

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey, the innocent and loyal wife of Dudley and claimant to the throne upon the death of Edward VI. The dupe of Pembroke and Renard, she is executed with Dudley after her refusal to become a Catholic.

Cuthbert Cholmondeley

Cuthbert Cholmondeley, Dudley’s squire, who is in love with Cicely. Imprisoned and tortured in the Tower, he escapes and later marries Cicely.


Cicely, the adopted daughter of Peter the pantler and Dame Potentia Trusbut. She becomes a lady in waiting to Lady Jane. Imprisoned by jealous Nightgall, she is later revealed to be of noble birth and is permitted by Mary to marry Cuthbert.

Lady Grace Mountjoy

Lady Grace Mountjoy, Cicely’s insane mother, who dies in a Tower cell.

Lawrence Nightgall

Lawrence Nightgall, the Tower jailer who is in love with Cicely. He is murdered by Renard after plotting with the French ambassador to kill Renard.

Simon Renard

Simon Renard, the Spanish ambassador.

Lord Pembroke

Lord Pembroke, Mary’s supporter and the conspirator with Renard to assassinate Cuthbert.

Queen Mary

Queen Mary, who is in love with Courtenay but affianced (upon Renard’s advice) to Philip, king of Spain, after the discovery of Courtenay’s double-dealing with Elizabeth.

Princess Elizabeth

Princess Elizabeth, Mary’s younger half sister. She is confined because of complicity with Courtenay, released by Mary, and then reconfined for a later execution planned by Mary.

Edward Courtenay

Edward Courtenay, the earl of Devonshire. In love with Elizabeth, he plots to get Mary’s throne by pretending love for Mary, who promises to marry him. He is confined for later execution because of his treachery.

Gunnora Boase

Gunnora Boase, an old woman, the tool of Northumberland and poisoner of the boy king, Edward VI.

The duke of Suffolk

The duke of Suffolk, the father of Lady Jane Grey.

Sir Thomas Wyat

Sir Thomas Wyat, the anti-Catholic leader of the revolt against Mary.