My Lady Jane: Did King Edward VI Have Dogs?

Image Credit: Jonathan Prime/Prime Video

Prime Video’s ‘My Lady Jane’ adds an element of fantasy to the story of the heroine whose real fate was quite tragic. This retelling, however, comes with a twist where Lady Jane has a better chance at a happy ending. Still, to keep things relatively realistic, the show resorts to sticking to real details from history, embedding them at the right places that keep the story parallel to real-life events while also opening more grounds for exploration in the context of the fantasy elements added to it. The detail about King Edward VI’s dog is one of those things and plays just as crucial a role in the show as it did in real life for the king. SPOILERS AHEAD

King Edward’s Dog Met a Tragic But Heroic End

In ‘My Lady Jane,’ Edward has a spaniel named Petunia, who accompanies him everywhere. The dog is very intuitive about the dangers of the king and often barks at people. She doesn’t like to warn the king of his enemies. Later, however, Petunia is revealed to be an Ethian, which makes her even better equipped to help the king find the traitors in his midst.

Image Credit: Jonathan Prime/Prime Video

In real life, Edward had a spaniel, though its name has been lost to history. The young king, who was only nine when the crown was placed on his head, loved his dog, who, much like Petunia, accompanied him everywhere. Considering that the dog didn’t have much impact on the day-to-day of the king’s life (unlike in the show), not much is known about it. However, there is one event that immortalized the dog and has gone down in history as one of the more significant events in Edward VI’s reign.

When Edward became king, he was too young to know the ways of the court. To help him through it all, his uncle, Edward Seymour, the first Duke of Somerset, was made Lord Protector, which gave the man a lot of power in the realm. This didn’t sit well with the king’s other uncle, Thomas Seymour, who felt that his own status in court had been radically lowered. He was jealous of his own brother’s power and influence and wanted the same for himself. When his brother refused to pay any heed to him, Thomas Seymour decided to go to the source instead.

Around the same time, Thomas Seymour had been pursuing the king’s half-sister, young princess Elizabeth. He wanted her hand in marriage, hoping to install her on the throne someday and become Lord Protector himself. When his brother refused to okay the marriage, Thomas decided to go to the king, but he couldn’t have a discussion without his elder brother monitoring them. So, he took a different route. He snuck into the king’s chambers in the Hampton Court Palace. Before he could reach the young king, Edward’s spaniel caught the scent of him and must have suspected his foul intentions. The dog started to bark and, worried that it would attract the guards, Thomas shot him dead.

The dog’s bark and the sound of a gun going off raised the alarms, and before Thomas could even reach the king, he was intercepted and sent to the Tower of London. He was eventually tried and convicted of treason and was sentenced to death. The king also counted his dog’s murder as one of Thomas’s grievous crimes from that night, and the man was eventually beheaded. This event marked a turn as it threw suspicion on Thomas’s elder brother as well and started a chain of events that eventually led things to turn out a certain way. In all of this, the dog became an important figure because he hadn’t be killed that night, things might have turned out very differently. ‘My Lady Jane’ acknowledges the importance of the spaniel, which is why Petunia is such an important character in the show.

Read More: My Lady Jane: Is the Amazon Prime Show Inspired by Real Events?