Ed­ward VI: the piti­less king

Did the young king revel in his un­cle’s dis­grace?

BBC Earth (Asia) - - History -

We can’t be sure what was go­ing through Ed­ward’s mind as Sey­mour lurched from one dis­as­ter to the next in the au­tumn of 1549. But an ex­tract from his di­ary gives us a clue. In it the king re­lates how the Lon­don coun­cil­lors sent him “A very gen­tle let­ter… to de­clare [the Pro­tec­tor’s] faults, am­bi­tions, vain­glory, en­ter­ing into rash wars in my youth… en­rich­ing him­self from my trea­sure, fol­low­ing his own opin­ions and do­ing all by his own au­thor­ity, etc. [The next day] the lords came to Wind­sor, took him and brought him through Hol­born to the Tower.” Ed­ward’s tone is emo­tion­less, with no sug­ges­tion of re­gret for his un­cle’s fate. So did he re­sent Sey­mour’s con­trol?

Ed­ward was an or­phan. The boy’s only close rel­a­tives were his un­cles, Ed­ward and Thomas Sey­mour. In the game of thrones that was Tu­dor pol­i­tics, they both played for the high­est stakes. Thomas was a charmer. He mar­ried Henry VIII’s widow, Kather­ine Parr, and had de­signs on Princess El­iz­a­beth. He also courted the boy king’s friend­ship by giv­ing him money and point­ing out how badly the pro­tec­tor treated him.

As for Ed­ward Sey­mour, he kept young Ed­ward on a tight rein, re­strict­ing ac­cess to his royal charge and plant­ing spies in the royal house­hold who in­formed him about ev­ery­one who ap­proached the king.

The tac­tic may have worked in the short term. But Ed­ward VI, no less than Sey­mour him­self, took the wil­ful Henry VIII as his model. Now, it ap­pears that he was ready to cast off Sey­mour’s avun­cu­lar tute­lage.

Ed­ward VI seems to have been to­tally un­trou­bled by Sey­mour’s down­fall

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.