Edward VI, the son of Henry VIII, became king of England at the age of nine upon the death of his father in 1547. Despite his young age, Edward was intellectually precocious, having already developed a strong grasp of Greek and Latin. He was also a prolific journal keeper, recording the events of his reign in detail.
Due to his young age, a Regency was created to govern in Edward’s stead. This Regency was composed of a group of 16 noblemen, known as the Privy Council, who were responsible for the day-to-day running of the kingdom. The Regency was headed by Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, who was appointed Lord Protector of England.
Despite his intellectual capabilities, Edward was not physically robust. He suffered from poor health throughout his reign, and it is believed that he died of tuberculosis at the age of 15.
Edward’s reign was marked by religious upheaval. He was a Protestant, and during his reign, he attempted to reform the Church of England along Protestant lines. He abolished the Mass and other Catholic rituals, and attempted to impose Protestantism on the country. This caused much unrest among the population, and his policies were eventually reversed by his half-sister, Mary I, upon her accession to the throne.
Edward’s reign was short, but significant. He was the first monarch of the House of Tudor to be raised as a Protestant, and his reign saw the beginnings of the English Reformation. Although his physical health was poor, his intellectual abilities and journal keeping were remarkable for a boy of his age. Edward VI will be remembered as a young king who left an indelible mark on English history.