The Tudors: Edward VI & Lady Jane Grey (1547-1553)

Great Books Guy

Edward, the only son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, was crowned king of England in February 1547 at age nine. Thomas Cranmer, the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, presided over the boy’s coronation. Sixteen years earlier Cranmer had helped Henry VIII establish the crown’s supreme authority over the church. Now, Cranmer used Edward’s coronation to showcase his newfound power. He surprised the coronation audience by turning to face them and explain that the king’s imperial authority was not answerable to the people, but only to God. This manner of absolutism that began under Henry VIII was more fully realized in the kingship of young Edward VI.

Elizabethan portrait of Edward VI in his early teens

From a very young age, Edward was educated into the new school of Protestant reform. He was a serious and studious young man who was fervent, severe, and self-righteous in his theological inclinations. The…

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