41 Facts About Edward VI


Edward VI's reign was marked by economic problems and social unrest that in 1549 erupted into riot and rebellion.


The transformation of the Church of England into a recognisably Protestant body occurred under Edward VI, who took great interest in religious matters.


Edward VI named his first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, as his heir, excluding his half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth.


Edward VI was the son of King Henry VIII by his third wife, Jane Seymour.


Edward VI was a healthy baby who suckled strongly from the outset.


The tradition that Edward VI was a sickly boy has been challenged by more recent historians.


Edward VI was initially placed in the care of Margaret Bryan, "lady mistress" of the prince's household.

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Until the age of six, Edward VI was brought up, as he put it later in his Chronicle, "among the women".


The formal royal household established around Edward VI was, at first, under Sir William Sidney, and later Sir Richard Page, stepfather of Edward VI's aunt Anne.


Henry demanded exacting standards of security and cleanliness in his son's household, stressing that Edward VI was "this whole realm's most precious jewel".


Edward VI received tuition from his sister Elizabeth's tutor, Roger Ascham, and from Jean Belmain, learning French, Spanish and Italian.


Many aspects of Edward VI's religion were essentially Catholic in his early years, including celebration of the mass and reverence for images and relics of the saints.


Edward VI "took special content" in Mary's company, though he disapproved of her taste for foreign dances; "I love you most", he wrote to her in 1546.


Edward VI was educated with sons of nobles, "appointed to attend upon him" in what was a form of miniature court.


Edward VI was more devoted to his schoolwork than his classmates and seems to have outshone them, motivated to do his "duty" and compete with his sister Elizabeth's academic prowess.


The war, which continued into Edward VI's reign, has become known as "the Rough Wooing".


Edward VI laughed at a Spanish tightrope walker who "tumbled and played many pretty toys" outside St Paul's Cathedral.


Edward VI is known to have done so with William Paget, private secretary to Henry VIII, and to have secured the support of Sir Anthony Browne of the Privy Chamber.


Edward VI proceeded to rule largely by proclamation, calling on the Privy Council to do little more than rubber-stamp his decisions.


Edward VI then found himself abruptly dismissed from the chancellorship on charges of selling off some of his offices to delegates.


Edward VI began smuggling pocket money to King Edward, telling him that Somerset held the purse strings too tight, making him a "beggarly king".


Edward VI urged the king to throw off the Protector within two years and "bear rule as other kings do"; but Edward, schooled to defer to the council, failed to co-operate.


King Edward VI wrote in his Chronicle that the 1549 risings began "because certain commissions were sent down to pluck down enclosures".


Edward VI issued a proclamation calling for assistance, took possession of the king's person, and withdrew for safety to the fortified Windsor Castle, where Edward wrote, "Me thinks I am in prison".


Edward VI noted his uncle's death in his Chronicle: "the duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Tower Hill between eight and nine o'clock in the morning".

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Warwick, on the other hand, pinned his hopes on the king's strong Protestantism and, claiming that Edward VI was old enough to rule in person, moved himself and his people closer to the king, taking control of the Privy Chamber.


Edward VI added members of his family to the royal household.


Edward VI saw that to achieve personal dominance, he needed total procedural control of the council.


In 1551, Edward VI was betrothed to Elisabeth of Valois, King Henry II's daughter, and was made a Knight of Saint Michael.


Edward VI was depicted during his life and afterwards as a new Josiah, the biblical king who destroyed the idols of Baal.


Edward VI could be priggish in his anti-Catholicism and once asked Catherine Parr to persuade Lady Mary "to attend no longer to foreign dances and merriments which do not become a most Christian princess".


Edward VI himself opposed Mary's succession, not only on religious grounds but on those of legitimacy and male inheritance, which applied to Elizabeth.


Edward VI composed a draft document, headed "My devise for the succession", in which he undertook to change the succession, most probably inspired by his father Henry VIII's precedent.


Yet Edward VI conceded their right only as an exception to male rule, demanded by reality, an example not to be followed if Jane and her sisters had only daughters.


Now his doctors believed he was suffering from "a suppurating tumour" of the lung and admitted that Edward VI's life was beyond recovery.


The inscription reads as follows: "In Memory Of King Edward VI Buried In This Chapel This Stone Was Placed Here By Christ's Hospital In Thanksgiving For Their Founder 7 October 1966".


The Duke of Northumberland, whose unpopularity was underlined by the events that followed Edward VI's death, was widely believed to have ordered the imagined poisoning.


Skidmore believes that Edward VI contracted tuberculosis after a bout of measles and smallpox in 1552 that suppressed his natural immunity to the disease.


Edward VI himself fully approved these changes, and though they were the work of reformers such as Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, backed by Edward VI's determinedly evangelical council, the fact of the king's religion was a catalyst in the acceleration of the Reformation during his reign.


Edward VI found herself entirely unable to restore the vast number of ecclesiastical properties handed over or sold to private landowners.


On Mary's death in 1558, the English Reformation resumed its course, and most of the reforms instituted during Edward VI's reign were reinstated in the Elizabethan Religious Settlement.