Jane the Fool (or Jeanne la Folle or Jane the Phoole) is one of Elizabeth I's many zany jesters. What is known about Jane is as follows: her maiden name might have been Beddes or Bede.


She was bald as an eagal; it is not known for certain whether she shaved her head at the orders of her physicians, for she was known to have been sickly, and Her Grace's accounts record expenses for Jane's medical care, or whether she shaved her head for effect. She seems to have made the best of a bald situation, however; for parties and for special occasions, she would decorate her bald head with paintings. For an afternoon of card games with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Mary, she would draw the suits of cards on her pate; for a spring faire, she would draw flowers and vines on her noggin.


She had her own horse, which was rare for a fool; she also had her very own clothes, whereas most court fools made their motley of second-hand courtier clothes. Some accounts maintain that she was a "natural" fool, or a simple idiot, given to blurting out inappropriate things to comic effect; others paint Jane as an "artificial" fool, who constructed her bald, wacky persona specifically to be a professional entertainer. Most accounts of her agree that for a while she was paired with Lucretia the Tumbler. Jane could sing, juggle, and compose rudimentary masques.

Marriage and FamilyEdit

In 1572, Jane the Fool (5'2") married Sir Nicholas "X-it" LeGrande, a 2-foot-tall French dwarf who had once been court fool to King Edward VI. The young king had elevated X-it from horse-groom to fool, and had so delighted in him that His Grace saw fit to bestow upon him a knighthood. (Hence, Jane is probably more properly styled "Jane Bede, Lady LeGrande," but it is a cumbersome utterance, and no one is going to insist on it.) The strange little couple were blessed with a son who grew up to be a whopping seven feet tall.

At the FaireEdit

At the Bristol Renaissance Faire, Jane is played by Ann-Elizabeth Shapera.

External LinksEdit

A-E Shapera's Jane the Phoole Site