English King Edward VI
Compiled by D. A. Sharpe
Edward VI is my 20th cousin, 13 times removed. The ancestors in common with us are Eystein Glumra Ivarsson and his wife, Aseda Rognvaldsdatter. Eystein and Aseda were 9th Century Vikings of Norway, being Elizabeth's 19th great grandparents and my 32nd great grandparents. Expressed another way, Edward is the fourth cousin, four times removed of Edward Carlton, the husband of Ellen Newton, the stepdaughter of Danette Abney, my sixth great grand uncle.
"Henry VIII had just one legitimate son, Prince Edward. Born in October 1537, Edward was the fulfillment of his father's tangled marital history. Henry had ended his marriages to Katharine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn when they failed at the most important queenly duty, each woman bearing a healthy princess, but no surviving prince. Jane Seymour, the king's third wife, was luckier.
"She ensured the king's lasting affection when she gave birth to Edward, but she died soon afterwards of puerperal sepsis. The infant prince was the only male Tudor heir of his generation; he had two sisters, and Henry VIII's sisters Mary and Margaret had several daughters. If Edward died, the throne would pass to a woman and the Tudor dynasty would end. Accordingly, King Henry did all he could to protect his son's health; the infant prince lived in safe seclusion until his father wed Katharine Parr.
"Henry's last wife became a beloved mother to Edward, and he adopted the zealous Protestantism she championed. He also grew close to his half-sister Elizabeth, with whom he shared a household for some years. His older half-sister, Mary, was an equally zealous Catholic; her religion and the vast difference in their ages prevented a close relationship. Edward became king at the age of 10, but he was a mere figurehead. He was crowned King of England on February 20, 1547 at Westminster Abbey.
Although Edward VI's practical influence on government was limited, his intense Protestantism made a reforming administration obligatory. The man Edward trust most was Thomas lCranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who introduced a series of religious reforms that revolutionized the English church, rejecting papal supremacy.
Church reform was therefore as much a political as a religious policy under Edward VI. By the end of his reign, the church had been financially ruined, with much of the property of the bishops transferred into lay hands
"His Seymour uncles battled with and ultimately lost the Protectorship to the ambitious John Dudley, duke of Northumberland. During his brief reign, Edward demonstrated impressive piety and intelligence. But his potential would never be realized. He died an agonizing death at age15, possibly from a combination of tuberculosis and the measles. Northumberland had persuaded him to leave the throne to his Protestant cousin, Lady Jane Grey. This decision begat one of the most tragic tales of Tudor England."
Edward died of multiple diseases on July 6, 1553 at Greenwich Palace in England. His burial was August 8, 1553 at Westminster Abbey.
Dwight Albert (D. A.) Sharpe
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