John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, military leader, c 1530s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland (1502-1553), led the defeat of the Scots at Pinkie in 1547 and helped suppres the 1549 rebellion of Robert Kett's men in Norwich. Presenting himself as a devoted Protestant, Dudley befriended the then monarch Edward VI and convinced him to pas the succesion of the crown not to his half sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, but instead to Dudley's Protestant daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey. After ruling for ten days Grey was dethroned and Dudley was arrested for high treason. Despite now proclaiming to be catholic, Dudley was beheaded at Mary's request at Tower Hill on 23 August 1553.