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Boy King

Updated on May 22, 2013

Edward 6th

Henry 8th's son Edward 6th

Edward was born of the union between Henry 8th and Jane Seymour.

He came to the throne when Henry 8th died on 28th January 1547. Edward was nine years old, a boy king who reigned for a very short time before he fell ill and died.

A very short reign but one that was filled with drama and history. He was the first monarch to be raised as a protestant, therefore he was greatly interested in religion. His father had broken away from the Catholic Church, but Edward insisted that catholics must have their own doctrines and ceremonies. He was Church of England and during his short reign, protestantism was firmly established. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer brought in many reforms to strengthen the Protestant faith, and wrote the Book of Common Prayer.

Even though Edward was very young he was well educated and he knew what was going on in world politics. From the age of six he had been taught by Doctor Coxe and Mr. John Cheke MA. He was taught Philosophy, Liberal Arts and Scripture. He wrote in his diary every day, a journal of what had happened.

As he was still in his minority a protector of the realm and Governor of the King's person was appointed to advise the boy king. This was the Duke of Somerset, his uncle, Sir Thomas Seymour. To govern the realm a Regency Council was set up with The Duke of Somerset at its head. When these essentials had been done, Edward could be crowned. On 9th February he was brought in procession from The Tower of London to Westminster and paraded before crowds. The following day the crowd was aked if they would have him as King and they roared, 'Yes.'

Edward 6th

Archbishop Cranmer

Then started the troubled reign of Edward 6th. There were uprisings across the whole country, there were criminal acts of theft of the king's goods and property and there were conspiracies against his officers and advisers. Trouble was everywhere in 1548 and 1549, the French sided with the Scots to raid and sack the border towns and they had to be put down. The West country rebelled against the introduction of the new prayer book and risings in Exeter, Ottery St. Mary and Launceston kept Edwards armies busy killing thousands of rebels. Then Norfolk rose up and The Earl of Warwick was despatched to subdue the rebels in Norwich. He killed over 2000 before they succumbed.

From Edward's journal: " I passed through London on 15th October 1549. The Lord Warwick was made Lord High Admiral at Hampton Court. M. Guidotti had carried out a number of errands for the Constable of France to try to make peace with us. Four commissioners were appointed to negotiate and they, after long debate, made a treaty."

In his journal of 1550, Edward the boy king lists things that happened daily. Mostly run of the mill everyday things.

But on 3rd May the entry: "Joan Bocher, sometimes called Joan of Kent was burnt for holding that Christ was not incarnate of the Virgin Mary. On 30th April the Bishop of London and the Bishop of Ely were to persuade her, but she withstood them and insulted the preacher who preached at her death,"

1551 The entry for 21st May: "My Lord the Marquis of Northampton was commisioned to deliver the Order of the Garter to the King of France and to treat in all things, chiefly the marriage to me of his daughter the Lady Elizabeth."

This was programmed to be when Elizabeth reached twelve years of age.

9th July: "At this time the sweating sickness came to London, and this was more vehement than the old sweating sickness. For if one took cold he died within three hours and if he escaped it held him for 9 0r 10 hours at the most. Also if he slept in the first six hours he would rave and die raving."

11th July: 'The sickness grew for so much in London, 70 died on the 10th and on this day 120 died. I removed to Hampton Court.

7th October: "Sir Thomas Palmer came to the Earl of Warwick and told him of a conspiracy. Lord Somerset went to raise the people and Lord Grey, with a plan to Summon the Earl of Warwick to a banquet with the Marquis of Northampton and many others, and to cut off their heads. If they had company then they would be set upon as well."

For these crimes Lord Somerset was beheaded on January 22nd 1552. Edward signed his uncle's death warrant.

His co-conspirators were also put to death.

1552 March 20th: " The French Ambassador brought me a letter of credit from his master and thereupon delivered to me the articles of the league between the Germans and him, desiring me to take part in the same league."

April 2nd: "I fell ill with measles and smallpox."

April 15th : "Parliament broke up because I was sick and as I was not able to go out as much as before I signed a bill containing the names of the acts which I would pass, which bill was read in the house."

May 10th: "Commission was given to Sir John Gates, Sir Robert Bowes and others to sell some of the chantry lands and houses in order to pay my debts which were at least £251,000 sterling."

Henry 8th nominates his son for the crown

June 6th: The Lord Paget, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster confessed how he, without commission, had sold away my lands and timber woods: how he had taken great fines for his profit and advantage, never giving any for my use. For these crimes and others similar he surrendered his office and submitted himself to those fines that I or my Council would appoint to be levied on his goods and lands.

June 16th: The Lord Paget was brought into the Star Chamber and there declared his submission by word of mouth and in writing. He confessed and acknowledged a fine of his lands, and signed an obligation to surrender all his goods.

November 28th: The Lord Paget was put to his fine of £6000 and £2000 diminished , to pay it within the space of six years on days specified.

This is where King Edward's diary finishes. He fell ill with a bout of flu and his health deteriorated over the next seven months. He died on July 6th 1553 and his death has been attributed to Bronchial Pneumonia.


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    • scarytaff profile imageAUTHOR

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      Thank you, Dim. I researched this one from a book in the public library, so you may find it there. Thanks for commenting.

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      7 years ago from Great Britain

      Wow! Don´t know why l haven´t found you before.

      l´m fascinated by the Tudors and Edward was the one l knew least about.

      l assumed there just wasn´t much written about him because of his sicknes and short reign.

      l´ve never seen anything aout his diaries befor.

      This was a real treat for me Thank you.

    • scarytaff profile imageAUTHOR

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      Thanks for commenting, Paperfly.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Syracuse, New York

      Good timing on the hub. I have just finished the cable series "The Tudors" that was given to me as a gift. This fit right in with what I've been watching.

    • scarytaff profile imageAUTHOR

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      Anything was possible in Tudor times, hello, hello. Thanks for commenting.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting and information hub. Could it be that old Lizzie had a hand in speeding Edward along? lol After all she had old Henry's blood.

    • scarytaff profile imageAUTHOR

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      Very true, No.7 Thank you for stopping by.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      It is sad that he died so young. He didn't have much of a chance in life. On the other hand, his death indirectly led to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, who did a lot for England.

    • scarytaff profile imageAUTHOR

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      Hi, viking305, cloverleaf. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      So sad that he died before his 15th birthday. A very interesting read, scarytaff, thanks for sharing.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      I really enjoyed reading about the young King. A very interesting article

    • scarytaff profile imageAUTHOR

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      Thanks, Neminga. I had to finish the hub in a hurry so hadn't added the pictures. Anyway, here they are.

    • Nemingha profile image


      7 years ago

      That Henry VIII had no luck at all did he? First he imprisons, beheads or divorces each of his six wives. Then his only son falls ill and dies at such a young age. I truly think Henry was cursed but the bad luck did not end with his death.

      Thanks for the Hub - I gave it an up and an interesting! Hope to read more from you.


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