My Lady Jane: Was King Edward VI Black?

Image Credit: Jonathan Prime/Prime Video

In Prime Video’s ‘My Lady Jane,’ a different version of history unfolds as we are taken to the sixteenth century, where politics in the English court leads to a lot of beheadings and bloodshed. The story focuses on Lady Jane Grey, a real historical figure who was unexpectedly put on the throne after the death of King Edward VI. In real life, Lady Jane met a tragic fate, but the Prime Video series changes that. Instead of Jane being killed, the show takes her story in a completely different direction, but that is not the only change we see in the story. The king, Edward, is played by actor Jordan Peters, and his casting is unorthodox but not surprising in the context of the show. SPOILERS AHEAD

My Lady Jane is Unbothered by Historical Inaccuracies

There are shows that take themselves very seriously and prefer to tell history as it has been passed down over the years. And then there are shows that just want to have some fun. ‘My Lady Jane’ falls into the latter category, and that’s why all the historical inaccuracies in the show, apart from King Edward VI being Black, are nothing to fret about.

Image Credit: Jonathan Prime/Prime Video

An important thing to remember about ‘My Lady Jane’ is that it reimagines Jane’s story but does so with a lot of creative license. It adds all kinds of stuff, most notably the plot line of the Ethians and the Verities, which serves as a major issue in the series. The show walks along the lines of other historical fiction series like Hulu’s ‘The Great’ and Starz’s ‘The Serpent Queen,’ both of whom reimagine the stories of historical figures with their own twist and practice color-blind castings. Another notable period drama that exercises color-blind casting is Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton.’ In all of these shows, the characters and their arcs take preference over historical accuracy and the color of their skin. With ‘My Lady Jane,’ we see the same thing.

What makes vexing about color-blind casting even more irrelevant is how the show is consistently unserious about historical accuracies. Being Black is not the only different thing about Edward in ‘My Lady Jane.’ He was also only fifteen at the time of the events portrayed in the series, in which he is much older. The same goes for the ages of almost every other character, including the protagonist, Jane Grey, who was barely 16 or 17 when she was put on the throne and executed soon after. In the same vein, the older characters, like Jane’s mother, were not as old when the actual events took place.

My Lady Jane Makes Several Changes to Suit Its Plotline

Image Credit: Jonathan Prime/Prime Video

It isn’t just about the ages of the characters; the show also concocts its own version of relationships and storylines. In the show, we see Lord Seymour courting and conspiring with Princess Mary to poison Edward and take his throne. In real life, their relationship was very different. Not only were they not together, but also Seymour was more interested in Princess Elizabeth, who would later become queen. In the same vein, the Lord Leicester that Jane’s sister, Katherine, marries didn’t exactly look like that. In real life, they had the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, who was the first to hold that title. He was much younger and more interested in Elizabeth.

There are several things like these that the show changes to suit its own plot line and deliver an entertaining story to the audience. The tone of the show goes in line with its intention and is much more light-hearted and comic, despite the danger that the characters have to face throughout the series. Considering all this, it feels justified that the creators of the show would be more focused on getting the actors who are best suited for the role acting-wise rather than fretting about their skin color. To his credit, Jordan Peters assumes the role of King Edward pretty well, leaving nothing to complain about.

Read More: My Lady Jane: Did King Edward VI Have Dogs?