Lady Jane (1987)


Lady Jane Movieposter - an image of Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter) and Guildford (Cary Elwes)

Lady Jane Movieposter © Paramount Pictures

Directed By:  Trevor Nunn

Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood, Patrick Stewart

Kent Locations Used: Hever Castle, Leeds Castle & Dover Castle.

When the death of King Henry VIII throws the country into chaos, the question of succession to the throne must be resolved. While the King’s surviving son Prince Edward lies on his death bed, a scheming John Dudley resolves to marry his son Guildford (Cary Elwes) to Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter), great niece of Henry VII and place her on the throne after the king’s death. Unwilling to be married, Guildford and Jane are at first unhappy with Dudley’s plans, but over time, their love for each other blossoms just as  a chain of events threatens to rip them apart.

This costume drama sheds light on England’s reformation in 1553 as the Duke of Northumberland attempted to guarantee a Protestant monarchy and keep Catholic Princess Mary from the throne.

The film is directed by Trevor Nunn (King Lear, Oklahoma!) and star Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, The King’s Speech) and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride, Saw) as young lovers Jane and Guildford, alongside John Wood (WarGames, Chocolat) and Patrick Stewart (Star Trek and X-Men series).

Three of Kent’s Castles feature in the film: the Long Gallery at Hever Castle was used for the scene where Lady Jane (Helena Bonham Carter) and Princess Mary (Jane Lapotaire) meet and talk about God and the moat around Leeds Castle was used to double as some of the exterior of Lady Jane’s home. Dover Castle doubles as the Tower of London, including the execution scenes at the end of the film.

Near Maidstone is the magnificent Leeds Castle, which is set within 500 acres of parkland and gardens and surrounded by a moat. This location boasts a mote and maze and state rooms including original marble bathrooms. The location has previously featured in productions such as Gadget Man (2014), Henry VIII (2003) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949).

Hever Castle was originally built as a country house in the 13th Century, but the Boleyn family, who held a seat there from 1462 till 1539, transformed parts of the castle into a Tudor manor. Today it offers three floors containing antique furniture and Tudor artefacts which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the county.  The location has been used for filming projects including Walking Through History (2013), Inkheart (2008) and Anne of a Thousand Days (1969).

Dover Castle was founded in the 12th Century and has held defensive significance for the country throughout history. The famous Operation Dynamo during the Second World War was masterminded within its walls. Dover Castle has previously featured in Into The Woods (2015), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) and To Kill a King (2003).

Lady Jane also features in the Kent Film Office Tudor(ish) Trail which celebrates Kent’s Tudor history and film connections.

Lady Jane was released in cinemas in February 1986 and is now available to buy on DVD.


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MMFor more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map: