Are you looking to fill that Bridgerton-sized hole in your hearts while you’re (impatiently) waiting for its next season? If so, Prime Video has the perfect historical series to deliver all the fantasy, romance, adventure, drama, clever satire, and absolutely stunning visuals that your heart desires. My Lady Jane, based on the YA novel series by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows, completely changes real-life royal history surrounding Lady Jane Grey, Edward Tudor, and others with a feminist framing. Oh, and did we mention that there are shapeshifters in the mix?!

first look images of My Lady Jane cast on set for prime video tv series
Prime Video

Nerdist took a visit out to My Lady Jane’s set to give you all the information about this universe’s main characters, big storylines, how it reshapes the past, and why you’ll want to jump into its action. 

What Is My Lady Jane About and How Does It Connect to Actual English History?

My Lady Jane is a satirical dramedy that reimagines the actual story of Lady Jane Grey. Who is that? Stick with us for a short history lesson that will bring this series into clearer focus. 

The (Brief) Real-Life History of Lady Jane Grey

In 1553, Lady Jane Grey (a.k.a. Lady Jane Dudley following her marriage to Lord Guilford Dudley) became the Queen of England for only nine days in a very interesting manner. Her marriage to Lord Dudley, son of King Edward VI’s chief minister, put her close to the crowd. King Edward VI’s will nominated Jane and her male heirs as successors to the throne due to her being Protestant and her commitment to his reformed Church of England. The will bumped out his two half-sisters, specifically Mary, who was Catholic. The Privy Council of England (a body of advisors to the Kingdom) and other notable people honor his wishes initially. 

Needless to say, a stir happened among supporters with many believing Mary is the rightful Queen. Lady Jane Grey became the Queen of England on July 10; however, the Privy Council got rid of her on July 19. She was then held prisoner in the Tower of England, convicted of treason, and, after her father got into a rebellious mix against Queen Mary, executed via beheading alongside her husband at only 16 or 17 years old. What a terrible ending to a short life. 

My Lady Jane’s Take on Her Life and Legacy 

This series literally gives two middle fingers up to Lady Jane Grey’s awful ending. The series imagines a world where Jane actually gets to save herself in an alt-fantasy Tudor era world. Here’s a quick synopsis for My Lady Jane

Inspired by the best-selling book, My Lady Jane is a radical retelling of English royal history, in which King Henry VIII’s son Edward does not die of tuberculosis, Lady Jane Grey is not beheaded, and neither is her rascal of a husband Guildford. At the center of this rollicking new series is the brilliant and headstrong Jane who is unexpectedly crowned queen overnight and finds herself the target of nefarious villains coming for the crown (and her head)… My Lady Jane is an epic tale of true love and high adventure, where the damsel in distress saves herself, her true love, and then the Kingdom. 

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My Lady Jane’s behind-the-scenes team runs on women power, including the show’s creator, showrunner, and co-executive producer Gemma Burgess, fellow showrunner Meredith Glynn, and director Jamie Babbit. During our set visit, which took place in London, UK in December 2022 in the midst of active filming, the trio spoke with us on an elaborate hot set depicting an event that Lady Jane Grey wasn’t afforded during short life and even shorter reign: a coronation celebration.

“She was never coronated, which is why she doesn’t always appear on [royal history] lists,” Burgess reveals. “So it’s kind of our equivalent of a coronation ball and everything’s about to fall apart. So we wanted to make the ball as beautiful and excessive as possible and then destroy it!” Burgess says moments like these and the series as a whole will depict Lady Jane Grey as a fully-realized young woman and less of a little-known and murky historical figure. 

My Lady Jane will still hit some important historical points, like the ongoing contention between Protestants and Catholics. However, even that aspect is getting its own fantasy leaning. In this world, it is ethians (shapeshifters who are frowned upon by the current regime) versus verities (normal people who cannot turn into animals). 

“The Protestant/Catholic thing that was going on way back when was really about otherism,” Glynn tells us. “In [today’s times], there is so much otherism. The ethians and the verities are our two groups and the ethians are the others [who are] persecuted. There’s laws passed against them. And for me as a queer person, I really related to the themes of what’s going on in our show with the ethians as kind of a metaphor for a lot of queer people and any other people who are persecuted.”  

You can certainly expect a crossing between these two social lines and a rebellion on the rise in the midst of romance (more on the latter later). 

Who Are the Main Characters in My Lady Jane

Like many historical series, there are a ton of people in the cast. Here are a few of the main players you should know: 

Lady Jane Grey

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Obviously, Lady Jane is the primary character in this story. Newcomer Emily Bader calls her character “one of the dumbest smart people you’ll ever meet.” Bader elaborates, “She knows everything about people and the world, but she knows very little about what it means to be a person and to be a part of the world… she’s dealing with finding her identity and her power as a woman at a time, even when you were the Queen of England, that power was constantly being either taken from you or you had to fight for it. And so I think she’s figuring out how to keep her power while also discovering what it’s like to be a woman with love and femininity and all those things that sometimes don’t go hand in hand.”

Bader applauds both the novel writers as well as the show’s creators for giving Jane a second chance, in a sense. “She was a young girl that was forced into a position because of her position, her station and intelligence, and then killed for it. I think this is giving Jane, who never really had any chance to have a life or make any decisions of her own, power and identity.” 

Surprisingly, Emily Bader is a California native who does an English accent very well. Her secret? Watching Pride & Prejudice (2005) on a loop with her family and mimicking Keira Knightley. That’s not a bad strategy at all! Jane’s persona, as Bader describes it, is a little Elizabeth Bennet and Blondie, the rock singer. 

Guilford Dudley

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Opposite of Bader is Edward Bluemel as Guilford Dudley, a young man who is grappling with his own secrets. While the book version of Guilford exhibits a poetic side, Bluemel says his version of the character is more about banter and a brilliance that he keeps under wraps.

“There’s definitely an intelligence to him and he definitely loves reading and he is very clever, but that’s another thing that’s sort of been hidden away,” says Bluemel. “It’s not part of the persona that he is portraying to the public at all, but you get glimmers of it. We learn very, very early on that he speaks Latin and then there’s a couple of other moments when suddenly there’s sort of a flash of intelligence that reveals exactly who he really is.” 

He says Guilford draws some inspiration from characters like Mr. Darcy and even unexpected real-life sources. “Interestingly, the description of my character when I got it said a Tudor Harry Styles… basically they basically amalgamated sort of the hottest people they could imagine and sort of put them together and then were like, do it… And I got there and they were like, “you’re going to be wearing head-to-toe leather 95% of the time and the other 5% I wear velvet.” 

We won’t give away additional details about Jane and Guilford’s arranged marriage and how their love blossoms, but they will find themselves guarding secrets, dealing with the challenges of power, and trying to keep the country together while also keeping the crown on Jane’s head. 

King Edward 

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Jordan Peters is King Edward, who is actually older than he was in real life considering he died at just 15 years old. (Yes, all of these folks were super young.) “He’s representing the whole country but he hasn’t had the opportunity to live a normal life and fall in love like other people… people see him as a weak King. He’s finding himself and becoming the man that he wants to be and he goes on this whole adventure to discover who he is not only as a King but as a human being.” 

Apparently, this version of King Edward isn’t feeling too well. Is there something sinister afoot? Perhaps. 

Lord Dudley 

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Guilford’s father appears to be wealthy and well-off… but that may not be the case. That is perhaps why he’s down for his son to link up with Jane. He’s a man keeping secrets close to the chest. Actor Rob Brydon tells us more about his character’s calculating ways. “I think at face he’s a good person but he’s a schemer. He’s had to scheme to keep his place in the court. It’s very cutthroat in the court.” 

Brydon says Lord Dudley and Lord Seymour have “beef” with each other that adds to the overall tension. (Yes, we did laugh at his choice of words.)  

Archer, Leader of the Ethians 

While we can assume some of our seemingly verity characters are probably hiding a shapeshifting secret, Archer is absolutely ethian. In fact, he’s the leader—or, as Michael Workeye says, King—of the ethian group. Archer will lead the charge of an eventual uprising of the ethian population. 

“He’s essentially all of the anti-establishment rolled into one,” says Workeye. “He is anti the Kingdom, anti the monarchy, and anti the way of life in England. He was born into nobility and lived a trauma free life. Great childhood.” 

Archer later becomes an ethian and leaves home. He returns home years later and see the oppression of ethians. Now, he aims to change that… by any means necessary.  

Lord Seymour 

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We know that Lord Seymour, played by Dominic Cooper, is up to some sort of shenanigans. He’s certainly not a fan of Lady Jane Grey nor anyone who supports her reign. But we have yet to discover his true motivations and desires. The show’s mix of Tudor era and comedy gave Cooper the perfect challenge of how to portray his villainous character.

“In these costumes, you’re used to having a certain posture and selling a sort of “Tudory manner.” It’s still really important, I think, to play that for real. You have a tendency to sort of play up and be a bit hammy to sell the joke… it is comedy and you have to be very exact.”

Cooper says Lord Seymour (and others) don’t perceive Jane as a threat… until she is. 

Mary Tudor 

Hello Jane’s archnemesis and Edward’s younger sister. Mary Tudor, played by Kate O’Flynn (pictured above beside Lord Seymour), hints that while her character is “evil,” that no one is quite who they seem. “…[She] really wants to be Queen and is looking forward to it. She may be plotting a few things to make that happen. Maybe.”

She says Mary and Lord Seymour are in cahoots to some degree to sway things in both of their favor. How? You’ll have to watch and find out. 

The remainder of the cast is as follows: 

Anna Chancellor as Lady Frances Grey (Jane’s mother) 

Jim Broadbent as the Duke of Leicester (Jane’s uncle) 

Isabella Brownson as Katherine (Jane’s younger sister) 

Robyn Betteridge as Margaret (Jane’s youngest sister) 

Henry Ashton as Stan (Guilford’s brother)

Abbie Hern as Elizabeth (Bess) Tudor (Edward’s older sister) 

Will Keen as the Duke of Norfolk 

Joe Klocek as Fitz

Máiréad Tyers as Susannah

Why Will Historical Romance Fans Love Prime Video’s My Lady Jane Series? 

My Lady Jane draws inspiration from beloved films like The Princess Bride and A Knight’s Tale to craft its narrative. There’s a little something for everyone. Fans of history can compare notes and perhaps point out Easter eggs that nod to that time period. Romance fans will appreciate the burning romance between Jane and Guilford as they fall in love. In fact, Emily Bader says it is “surprisingly sexy and spicy.” 

Costume fanatics will absolutely rave over the show’s intricate looks, perhaps even aiming to recreate them. Those who like satire and drama will get a healthy dose of both. And, the cast boasts some diversity too, similar to Bridgerton

Meredith Glynn hopes viewers will come to the end of season one and say that it is fun, refreshing, and worthy of a second season.

What Is the Release Date for My Lady Jane on Prime Video?

My Lady Jane hits Prime Video on June 27 with all eight episodes streaming.