King Edward VI had died on 6 July 1553, but his device for the succession was not implemented until 9 July when Jane was informed she was now Queen. Her reply was, “The crown is not my right, and pleaseth me not. The Lady Mary is the rightful heir.”
She was proclaimed Queen the very next day. The days in between were used by Jane’s father-in-law, John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland to gather troops. Jane took up residence in the Tower of London. Her husband then asked her to declare him King, which she refused. She wished to make him a Duke, but it caused an argument between the two.
Meanwhile, Mary had also been informed of her brother’s death. She was established at Kenninghall when the news was confirmed. She had managed to evade the Duke of Northumberland so far. She addressed her household with the words that the right to the crown of England had descended to her by divine and by human law. Her household cheered her on. Her letter to the privy council arrived in London later that evening.
She declared herself to be Queen, and she asked that violence be avoided. Jane was informed of the letter and heard its content. Upon their allegiance, they were to “case our right and title to the crown and government of this realm to be proclaimed in our city of London, and other places as your wisdom shall seem good.” It was just one of the letters Mary sent. She called upon her loyal subjects to proclaim her Queen and requested forces to come to her aid.
A country that had never had a female ruler before suddenly had two. Jane did not respond to the letter, though it was later decided that someone should go and meet with Mary.
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