Originally a feminine form of John, from the Old French form Je(h)anne. Since the 17th century it has proved the most popular of the feminine forms of John, ahead of Joan and Jean. It now also commonly occurs as the second element in combinations such as Sarah-Jane. In Britain it is still one of the most frequent of all girls' names. It is not a royal name, but was borne by the tragic Lady Jane Grey (1537–54), who was unwillingly proclaimed queen in 1553, deposed nine days later, and executed the following year. Seventy years earlier, the name had come into prominence as that of Jane Shore, mistress of King Edward IV and subsequently of Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, Lady Jane's grandfather. Jane Shore's tribulations in 1483 at the hands of Richard III, Edward's brother and successor, became the subject of popular ballads and plays, which may well have increased the currency of the name in the 16th century. A 19th-century influence was its use as the name of the central character in Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre (1847). From 1932 to 1959 it was used as the name of a cheerful and scantily clad beauty whose adventures were chronicled in a strip cartoon in the Daily Mirror. It is also borne by the American film stars Jane Russell (b. 1921) and Jane Fonda (b. 1937).