Edward VI (Dictionary of World Biography: Renaissance)
Article abstract: Edward’s reign definitively established the strong Tudor monarchy and English Protestantism. Despite his youth, the king played a significant role in both.
Edward VI’s birth to Henry VIII and his wife, Jane Seymour, secured the Tudor male succession. To this end, Henry had in the past decade discarded two wives and separated the English church from the Papacy. With both of Henry’s previous wives now dead, illegitimacy did not shadow Edward as it did his two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. Jane Seymour died twelve days after Edward’s birth; within the next six years, his father took three more wives, but he had no more children. The last marriage, to Catherine Parr in 1543, provided Edward with a stepmother who brought the king’s children together in a harmonious household and made the court a center of the New Learning (Protestantism).
Henry VIII was already forty-six at Edward’s birth and, though a fond parent, had little association with his son; the boy patterned himself on his tutors and grew up serious and scholarly. He found in the classroom liberation from the society of women, among whom he had spent his first six years. His first tutors, Richard Cox and John Cheke, were Cambridge scholars and staunch Protestants, friends of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. For schoolmates, they selected sons of noblemen; one of them, Barnaby Fitzpatrick, Edward’s whipping boy,...
(The entire section is 2093 words.)
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