King Edward VI was the only legitimate son of Henry VIII, his mother was Jane Seymour the third wife of the king. Edward was born on October 12th, 1537 at Hampton Court Palace. His mother Jane died within weeks of the birth after contracting puerperal fever. Edward came to the throne at the age of nine following the death of his father.
Edward VI Childhood Facts
Edward was the only male Tudor heir of the generation. Henry’s sisters had both given birth to daughters, and Henry’s other children were both girls. If anything happened to Edward it meant that the crown would be passed to a female monarch, and Henry did not like the idea of that happening at all.
He placed his son, who was never of robust health in safe seclusion. Prior to his death, Henry arranged for a Council of Regency to rule on behalf of Edward until he reached the age of eighteen, at which point he could assume the throne himself. Sadly, this was never to be as Edward was to die aged only fifteen. It is thought that he was suffering from tuberculosis which had been severely aggravated by the measles virus.
Edward VI Biography
Edward was baptised in a splendid ceremony as was befitting to the new heir to the English throne. Upon the death of his mother Edward was place in the care of Margaret Bryan, she was Mistress of the Prince’s Household. Henry demanded that every care should be taken towards maintaining the health and welfare of the future king.
The education of Edward was overseen by his step mother, the last of Henry’s wives, Catherine Parr. She became a loving step mother to all of Henry’s children from his previous marriages. Edward was schooled in many subjects including government, geography, history, Latin, Greek, French and German. He was also instructed in the social skills of the time as well as in past times such as music, fencing and horse riding.
Edward was a serious and intelligent student though he was known to have had a temper similar to his father. Edward was only four years younger than his sister Elizabeth with whom he shared a strong bond, though there was no such relationship with his eldest sister Mary.
Edward VI Tudor: Health
Edward has never been described as being robust, either in terms of build or of health. Unlike his father he preferred intellectual pursuits as opposed to those of a sporting, physical nature. He took his role seriously and learned all he could about the country that he was destined to rule. In 1552 Edward contracted smallpox, one of the most common diseases of the age.
This had a lasting effect on him and upon recovery from the disease he health was never the same. The following year his health declined once more as he struggled with consumption (tuberculosis), and it became obvious to all that the king would soon die. It was on July 6th 1553, at just fifteen years of age that Edward whispered his last ever prayer and died.
According to the will left by his father, should Edward die without having had children then the crown should be passed to his older sister Mary. As Mary was a devout catholic this did not sit with the royal court, before his death Edward was persuaded to name Lady Jane Grey, Henry’s Protestant great niece as his successor.