|Birth Day:||October 12, 1537|
|Death Date:||Jul 6, 1553 (age 15)|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Edward VI died on Jul 6, 1553 (age 15).
In his youth, he studied under scholar John Cheke and cleric Richard Cox.
Edward was born on 12 October 1537 in his mother's room inside Hampton Court Palace, in Middlesex. He was the son of King Henry VIII by his third wife, Jane Seymour. Throughout the realm, the people greeted the birth of a male heir, "whom we hungered for so long", with joy and relief. Te Deums were sung in churches, bonfires lit, and "their was shott at the Tower that night above two thousand gonnes". Queen Jane, appearing to recover quickly from the birth, sent out personally signed letters announcing the birth of "a Prince, conceived in most lawful matrimony between my Lord the King's Majesty and us". Edward was christened on 15 October, with his half-sisters, the 21-year-old Lady Mary as godmother and the 4-year-old Lady Elizabeth carrying the chrisom; and the Garter King of Arms proclaimed him as Duke of Cornwall and Earl of Chester. The Queen, however, fell ill on 23 October from presumed postnatal complications, and died the following night. Henry VIII wrote to Francis I of France that "Divine Providence ... hath mingled my joy with bitterness of the death of her who brought me this happiness".
Edward was a healthy baby who suckled strongly from the outset. His father was delighted with him; in May 1538, Henry was observed "dallying with him in his arms ... and so holding him in a window to the sight and great comfort of the people". That September, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Audley, reported Edward's rapid growth and vigour; and other accounts describe him as a tall and merry child. The tradition that Edward VI was a sickly boy has been challenged by more recent historians. At the age of four, he fell ill with a life-threatening "quartan fever", but, despite occasional illnesses and poor eyesight, he enjoyed generally good health until the last six months of his life.
On 1 July 1543, Henry VIII signed the Treaty of Greenwich with the Scots, sealing the peace with Edward's betrothal to the seven-month-old Mary, Queen of Scots. The Scots were in a weak bargaining position after their defeat at Solway Moss the previous November, and Henry, seeking to unite the two realms, stipulated that Mary be handed over to him to be brought up in England. When the Scots repudiated the treaty in December 1543 and renewed their alliance with France, Henry was enraged. In April 1544, he ordered Edward's uncle, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, to invade Scotland and "put all to fire and sword, burn Edinburgh town, so razed and defaced when you have sacked and gotten what ye can of it, as there may remain forever a perpetual memory of the vengeance of God lightened upon [them] for their falsehood and disloyalty". Seymour responded with the most savage campaign ever launched by the English against the Scots. The war, which continued into Edward's reign, has become known as "The Rough Wooing".
Both Edward's sisters were attentive to their brother and often visited him – on one occasion, Elizabeth gave him a shirt "of her own working". Edward "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. In 1543, Henry invited his children to spend Christmas with him, signalling his reconciliation with his daughters, whom he had previously illegitimised and disinherited. The following spring, he restored them to their place in the succession with a Third Succession Act, which also provided for a regency council during Edward's minority. This unaccustomed family harmony may have owed much to the influence of Henry's new wife, Catherine Parr, of whom Edward soon became fond. He called her his "most dear mother" and in September 1546 wrote to her: "I received so many benefits from you that my mind can hardly grasp them."
Somerset's only undoubted skill was as a soldier, which he had proven on expeditions to Scotland and in the defence of Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1546. From the first, his main interest as Protector was the war against Scotland. After a crushing victory at the Battle of Pinkie in September 1547, he set up a network of garrisons in Scotland, stretching as far north as Dundee. His initial successes, however, were followed by a loss of direction, as his aim of uniting the realms through conquest became increasingly unrealistic. The Scots allied with France, who sent reinforcements for the defence of Edinburgh in 1548. The Queen of Scots was moved to France, where she was betrothed to the Dauphin. The cost of maintaining the Protector's massive armies and his permanent garrisons in Scotland also placed an unsustainable burden on the royal finances. A French attack on Boulogne in August 1549 at last forced Somerset to begin a withdrawal from Scotland.
Other children were brought to play with Edward, including the granddaughter of Edward's chamberlain, Sir William Sidney, who in adulthood recalled the prince as "a marvellous sweet child, of very mild and generous condition". Edward was educated with sons of nobles, "appointed to attend upon him" in what was a form of miniature court. Among these, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, son of an Irish peer, became a close and lasting friend. Edward 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. Edward's surroundings and possessions were regally splendid: his rooms were hung with costly Flemish tapestries, and his clothes, books, and cutlery were encrusted with precious jewels and gold. Like his father, Edward was fascinated by military arts, and many of his portraits show him wearing a gold dagger with a jewelled hilt, in imitation of Henry. Edward's Chronicle enthusiastically details English military campaigns against Scotland and France, and adventures such as John Dudley's near capture at Musselburgh in 1547.
The nine-year-old Edward wrote to his father and stepmother on 10 January 1547 from Hertford thanking them for his new year's gift of their portraits from life. By 28 January 1547, Henry VIII was dead. Those close to the throne, led by Edward Seymour and William Paget, agreed to delay the announcement of the king's death until arrangements had been made for a smooth succession. Seymour and Sir Anthony Browne, the Master of the Horse, rode to collect Edward from Hertford and brought him to Enfield, where Lady Elizabeth was living. He and Elizabeth were then told of the death of their father and heard a reading of the will.
Somerset's appointment was in keeping with historical precedent, and his eligibility for the role was reinforced by his military successes in Scotland and France. In March 1547, he secured letters patent from King Edward granting him the almost monarchical right to appoint members to the Privy Council himself and to consult them only when he wished. In the words of historian Geoffrey Elton, "from that moment his autocratic system was complete". He proceeded to rule largely by proclamation, calling on the Privy Council to do little more than rubber-stamp his decisions.
In summer 1548, a pregnant Catherine Parr discovered Thomas Seymour embracing Lady Elizabeth. As a result, Elizabeth was removed from Catherine Parr's household and transferred to Sir Anthony Denny's. That September, Catherine Parr died shortly after childbirth, and Thomas Seymour promptly resumed his attentions to Elizabeth by letter, planning to marry her. Elizabeth was receptive, but, like Edward, unready to agree to anything unless permitted by the Council. In January 1549, the Council had Thomas Seymour arrested on various charges, including embezzlement at the Bristol mint. King Edward, whom Seymour was accused of planning to marry to Lady Jane Grey, himself testified about the pocket money. Lack of clear evidence for treason ruled out a trial, so Seymour was condemned instead by an Act of Attainder and beheaded on 20 March 1549.
During 1548, England was subject to social unrest. After April 1549, a series of armed revolts broke out, fuelled by various religious and agrarian grievances. The two most serious rebellions, which required major military intervention to put down, were in Devon and Cornwall and in Norfolk. The first, sometimes called the Prayer Book Rebellion, arose from the imposition of Protestantism, and the second, led by a tradesman called Robert Kett, mainly from the encroachment of landlords on common grazing ground. A complex aspect of the social unrest was that the protesters believed they were acting legitimately against enclosing landlords with the Protector's support, convinced that the landlords were the lawbreakers.
The same justification for outbreaks of unrest was voiced throughout the country, not only in Norfolk and the west. The origin of the popular view of Somerset as sympathetic to the rebel cause lies partly in his series of sometimes liberal, often contradictory, proclamations, and partly in the uncoordinated activities of the commissions he sent out in 1548 and 1549 to investigate grievances about loss of tillage, encroachment of large sheep flocks on common land, and similar issues. Somerset's commissions were led by an evangelical M.P. called John Hales, whose socially liberal rhetoric linked the issue of enclosure with Reformation theology and the notion of a godly commonwealth. Local groups often assumed that the findings of these commissions entitled them to act against offending landlords themselves. King Edward wrote in his Chronicle that the 1549 risings began "because certain commissions were sent down to pluck down enclosures".
Whatever the popular view of Somerset, the disastrous events of 1549 were taken as evidence of a colossal failure of government, and the Council laid the responsibility at the Protector's door. In July 1549, Paget wrote to Somerset: "Every man of the council have misliked your proceedings ... would to God, that, at the first stir you had followed the matter hotly, and caused justice to be ministered in solemn fashion to the terror of others ...".
The sequence of events that led to Somerset's removal from power has often been called a coup d'état. By 1 October 1549, Somerset had been alerted that his rule faced a serious threat. He 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". Meanwhile, a united Council published details of Somerset's government mismanagement. They made clear that the Protector's power came from them, not from Henry VIII's will. On 11 October, the Council had Somerset arrested and brought the king to Richmond. Edward summarised the charges against Somerset in his Chronicle: "ambition, vainglory, entering into rash wars in mine youth, negligent looking on Newhaven, enriching himself of my treasure, following his own opinion, and doing all by his own authority, etc." In February 1550, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, emerged as the leader of the Council and, in effect, as Somerset's successor. Although Somerset was released from the Tower and restored to the Council, he was executed for felony in January 1552 after scheming to overthrow Dudley's regime. Edward 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".
The Earl of Warwick's rival for leadership of the new regime was Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton, whose conservative supporters had allied with Dudley's followers to create a unanimous Council, which they, and observers such as the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's ambassador, expected to reverse Somerset's policy of religious reform. Warwick, on the other hand, pinned his hopes on the king's strong Protestantism and, claiming that Edward was old enough to rule in person, moved himself and his people closer to the king, taking control of the Privy Chamber. Paget, accepting a barony, joined Warwick when he realised that a conservative policy would not bring the emperor onto the English side over Boulogne. Southampton prepared a case for executing Somerset, aiming to discredit Warwick through Somerset's statements that he had done all with Warwick's co-operation. As a counter-move, Warwick convinced parliament to free Somerset, which it did on 14 January 1550. Warwick then had Southampton and his followers purged from the Council after winning the support of Council members in return for titles, and was made Lord President of the Council and great master of the king's household. Although not called a Protector, he was now clearly the head of the government.
Warwick's war policies were more pragmatic than Somerset's, and they have earned him criticism for weakness. In 1550, he signed a peace treaty with France that agreed to withdrawal from Boulogne and recalled all English garrisons from Scotland. In 1551, Edward was betrothed to Elisabeth of Valois, King Henry II's daughter, and was made a Knight of Saint Michael. In practice, he realised that England could no longer support the cost of wars. At home, he took measures to police local unrest. To forestall future rebellions, he kept permanent representatives of the crown in the localities, including lords lieutenant, who commanded military forces and reported back to central government.
In contrast, Somerset's successor John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, made Duke of Northumberland in 1551, was once regarded by historians merely as a grasping schemer who cynically elevated and enriched himself at the expense of the crown. Since the 1970s, the administrative and economic achievements of his regime have been recognised, and he has been credited with restoring the authority of the royal Council and returning the government to an even keel after the disasters of Somerset's protectorate.
After 1551, the Reformation advanced further, with the approval and encouragement of Edward, who began to exert more personal influence in his role as Supreme Head of the church. The new changes were also a response to criticism from such reformers as John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, and the Scot John Knox, who was employed as a minister in Newcastle upon Tyne under the Duke of Northumberland and whose preaching at court prompted the king to oppose kneeling at communion. Cranmer was also influenced by the views of the continental reformer Martin Bucer, who died in England in 1551, by Peter Martyr, who was teaching at Oxford, and by other foreign theologians. The progress of the Reformation was further speeded by the consecration of more reformers as bishops. In the winter of 1551–52, Cranmer rewrote the Book of Common Prayer in less ambiguous reformist terms, revised canon law, and prepared a doctrinal statement, the Forty-two Articles, to clarify the practice of the reformed religion, particularly in the divisive matter of the communion service. Cranmer's formulation of the reformed religion, finally divesting the communion service of any notion of the real presence of God in the bread and the wine, effectively abolished the mass. According to Elton, the publication of Cranmer's revised prayer book in 1552, supported by a second Act of Uniformity, "marked the arrival of the English Church at Protestantism". The prayer book of 1552 remains the foundation of the Church of England's services. However, Cranmer was unable to implement all these reforms once it became clear in spring 1553 that King Edward, upon whom the whole Reformation in England depended, was dying.
The cause of Edward VI's death is not certain. As with many royal deaths in the 16th century, rumours of poisoning abounded, but no evidence has been found to support these. The Duke of Northumberland, whose unpopularity was underlined by the events that followed Edward's death, was widely believed to have ordered the imagined poisoning. Another theory held that Edward had been poisoned by Catholics seeking to bring Mary to the throne. The surgeon who opened Edward's chest after his death found that "the disease whereof his majesty died was the disease of the lungs". The Venetian ambassador reported that Edward had died of consumption—in other words, tuberculosis—a diagnosis accepted by many historians. Skidmore believes that Edward contracted tuberculosis after a bout of measles and smallpox in 1552 that suppressed his natural immunity to the disease. Loach suggests instead that his symptoms were typical of acute bronchopneumonia, leading to a "suppurating pulmonary infection" or lung abscess, septicaemia, and kidney failure.
In February 1553, Edward VI became ill, and by June, after several improvements and relapses, he was in a hopeless condition. The king's death and the succession of his Catholic half-sister Mary would jeopardise the English Reformation, and Edward's Council and officers had many reasons to fear it. Edward himself opposed Mary's succession, not only on religious grounds but also on those of legitimacy and male inheritance, which also applied to Elizabeth. He 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. He passed over the claims of his half-sisters and, at last, settled the Crown on his first cousin once removed, the 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, who on 25 May 1553 had married Lord Guilford Dudley, a younger son of the Duke of Northumberland. In the document he writes:
Edward made his final appearance in public on 1 July, when he showed himself at his window in Greenwich Palace, horrifying those who saw him by his "thin and wasted" condition. During the next two days, large crowds arrived hoping to see the king again, but on 3 July, they were told that the weather was too chilly for him to appear. Edward died at the age of 15 at Greenwich Palace at 8 pm on 6 July 1553. According to John Foxe's legendary account of his death, his last words were: "I am faint; Lord have mercy upon me, and take my spirit". He was buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey on 8 August 1553, with reformed rites performed by Thomas Cranmer. The procession was led by "a grett company of chylderyn in ther surples" and watched by Londoners "wepyng and lamenting"; the funeral chariot, draped in cloth of gold, was topped by an effigy of Edward, with crown, sceptre, and garter. Edward's burial place was unmarked until as late as 1966, when an inscribed stone was laid in the chapel floor by Christ's Hospital school to commemorate their founder. 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".
It now dawned on the Privy Council that it had made a terrible mistake. Led by the Earl of Arundel and the Earl of Pembroke, on 19 July the Council publicly proclaimed Mary as queen; Jane's nine-day reign came to an end. The proclamation triggered wild rejoicing throughout London. Stranded in Cambridge, Northumberland proclaimed Mary himself—as he had been commanded to do by a letter from the Council. William Paget and the Earl of Arundel rode to Framlingham to beg Mary's pardon, and Arundel arrested Northumberland on 24 July. Northumberland was beheaded on 22 August, shortly after renouncing Protestantism. His recantation dismayed his daughter-in-law, Jane, who followed him to the scaffold on 12 February 1554, after her father's involvement in Wyatt's rebellion.
On Mary's death in 1558, the English Reformation resumed its course, and most of the reforms instituted during Edward's reign were reinstated in the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Queen Elizabeth replaced Mary's councillors and bishops with ex-Edwardians, such as William Cecil, Northumberland's former secretary, and Richard Cox, Edward's old tutor, who preached an anti-Catholic sermon at the opening of parliament in 1559. Parliament passed an Act of Uniformity the following spring that restored, with modifications, Cranmer's prayer book of 1552; and the Thirty-nine Articles of 1563 were largely based on Cranmer's Forty-two Articles. The theological developments of Edward's reign provided a vital source of reference for Elizabeth's religious policies, though the internationalism of the Edwardian Reformation was never revived.
Edward was born to Jane Seymour and the infamous King Henry VIII.
Currently, Edward VI is 485 years, 5 months and 8 days old. Edward VI will celebrate 486th birthday on a Thursday 12th of October 2023. Below we countdown to Edward VI upcoming birthday.
A Happy Day in England - The Birth of Edward VI!
Today in 1537 was perhaps one of the happiest days in our dear King Henry VIII's life. His third wife, loyal and sweet Jane Seymour, gave birth to her first child, a SON, whom they named Edward,...