|King Edward VI was Henry
VIII's much longed for son. His mother was Henry's third wife,
Jane Seymour, who died only a few days after Edward was born. As Jane was
the only one of Henry's wives to give him a living son, she was truly the
Queen of his heart, and it is with Jane that he is buried in Windsor Castle.
Edward was only nine years old when his father died in the January of 1547,
so his uncle, Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, became Lord Protector.
Thomas Seymour, Edward Seymour's brother, was jealous of his brother's
power, and tried to kidnap the King so that he could be Lord Protector
instead. To further advance his position, he had wanted to marry Elizabeth,
Edward's half-sister by Anne Boleyn. For his intrigues, Thomas was executed,
and his brother did not long survive his disgrace. He was replaced as Lord
Protector by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.
Edward was not a very healthy child, and
it became clear to those around him that he was not going to live very
long. Desperate to keep his hands on the reigns of power, Northumberland
devised a clever plot to make his son, Guildford Dudley, King when Edward
died. Before he died, Henry VIII had made a will in which he outlined the
order of succession: Edward, Mary, Elizabeth, and then Frances, daughter
of his sister, Mary. Although by right of birth the descendants of his
sister, Margaret (Queen of Scotland) should have come before Mary's, Henry
wished to skip the Scottish line. In league with Northumberland, Frances
gave up her place in the line of succession in favour of her daughter,
Lady Jane Grey, and Northumberland arranged for Lady Jane and his son Guildford
to marry. Northumberland then persuaded the young King to make a will declaring
Lady Jane Grey to be the next rightful heir on the grounds that his half-sisters
were both illegitimate.
When Edward died in 1553, Northumberland
went ahead and announced Jane to be Queen of England. Not willing to give
up her claim to the throne without a fight, Mary and her supporters challenged
Northumberland and within days were victorious. Mary was proclaimed Queen
of England, and Northumberland, Lady Jane, Guildford, and their supporters
were imprisoned. Northumberland was soon executed for treason, and a few
months later, Lady Jane and her husband were also beheaded.
||12 October 1537
Hampton Court Palace
||20 February 1547
||The Boy King
(Nine days Queen)