joy magnetism: Today, the Duke of Somerset had his head cut off on Tower Hill.*

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Today, the Duke of Somerset had his head cut off on Tower Hill.*

Magnet #771 - Edward VI (r.1547-1553)

Edward VI was Henry VIII's only legitimate son, given to him by Lady Jane Seymour. She was supposedly the only wife that Henry VIII showed true affection for. Sadly, she died almost two weeks after giving birth to Edward at Hampton Court Palace.

So, Henry VIII totally breathed a sigh of relief that he'd begotten a righteous heir, going so far as to betroth him to a baby cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. (Which led to this whole "Rough Wooing" series of events that included folks smuggling the six-year-old Mary out of the country and into France, so she could marry the King there. I know! Crazy! Find that on Disney Channel!)

Except then Henry VIII went and died, leaving a nine-year-old Edward VI the head of England. And Ireland. And the Church. I won't lie, I was totally gonna make fun of this monarch's signature when I saw it. I mean, look! Then I realized the little guy was...little, and you really can't mock the kid.

You kinda have to feel sorry for him. I mean, nine years old and bam! You're the king! Of course, he totally had a regent council to rule in his place, his mother's brother, Edward Seymour who was dubbed Lord Protector of the Realm. Of course, in true regent fashion, everyone clamored for power over the young king, so there was never any peace.

No. Like, literally, never any peace. Skirmishes and backstabbing, lies and treason, alliances and bald-faced betrayals were the order of the day. Or at least while Edward VI was around. Except that in the end, he wasn't.

This is totally weird, and if I were a better historian, I wouldn't stop until I found out this answer, but this is a magnetblog.

Anyway, there seem to be some discrepancies around his death. How very royal.

According to this article, the poor kid who had always been sickly anyway, caught some combo of the measles and smallpox (whoa), and just went downhill all the way to consumption from there. In January 1553, during a thunderstorm that some say was actually Henry VIII freaking out from beyond the grave, Edward VI cried out a final prayer and died at age 15.

That same article then says that they keep it secret until June of 1553. (Which sounds totally crazy and frankly, slightly impossible.)

But, wouldn't you know it, according to the BBC and the wiki, Edward died in July of 1553. Mind you, the official royal site just says 1553.

The unsurety (that's totally not even a word, I don't think) of when (and in some instances how) he died is just a little freaky. I dunno why, but I certainly would have expected things to be a little different without TMZ.

*A supposed diary entry from Edward VI. They say that he was somewhat detached from everyone, because even in his journal this entry shows no real emotions around the beheading of his uncle, the Duke of Somerset.

On the flip side, though, apparently one of the people in charge of him used to review his journal and correct entries. So I'm going with yeah, no real emotions in that little diary!
Pin It!


Your Nose Is Quite Big said...

Maybe not awesomest monarch ever (H2? 5? R3? <--haha, I threw that in for Glor), but definitely very badass.

Glor said...

I appreciate the R3 shoutout. Though I will concede that RIII did not have time to be the awesomest monarch ever because of Edward VI's grandfather (and step-great grandfather, stupid Stanley).

If Edward VI died unexpectedly, I wouldn't be surprised at a massive cover-up because the next in line was Mary. Mary being Catholic, they were all sure that she was going to restore the monasteries and take back all the lands and goods and moola they'd taken from the monks.

So Dudley, who was by that time effectively Lord Protector, came up with the scheme to jump three people in Henry's will (Mary, Elizabeth, Frances Grey) to Jane Grey, and he needed time to get Edward's will set up (not to mention marrying his son off to the future queen). He would have needed the king either alive or supposedly alive.

But then I doubt they could have kept it a secret for six months. You'd think Mary would have demanded to see him during that time. But fudging a couple of weeks? I could see that.

Ah, history.