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British Monarchs: Edward VI (Tudors) 1547-1553

Edward VI

House: Tudors
Reign: 1547-1553

Edward VI (12 October 1537 6 July 1553) became King of England and Ireland on 28 January 1547, at just nine years of age. Edward, the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England's first ruler who was Protestant at the time of his ascension to the throne. Edward's entire rule was mediated through a council of regency as he never reached majority. The council was first led by his uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1547-49), and
then by John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland (1549-1553).

Although Henry VIII had broken the link between the English church and Rome, it was during Edward's reign that Protestantism was established for the first time in England. It was during Edward's reign that Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, implemented the Book of Common Prayer.

Edward's reign was marked by increasingly harsh Protestant reforms, the loss of control of Scotland, and an economic downturn. A period of social unrest begun earlier intensified during his rule, and conflicts with the French increased.

When it became clear that Edward's life was to be a short one, the king's advisors persuaded him to attempt to exclude his two half sisters, the devout Catholic Mary and moderate Protestant Elizabeth, from the line of succession to the throne in order to put the Lady Jane Grey, the solidly Protestant daughter-in-law of the chief Regent, next in line to succeed the king. Following Edward's death at the age of fifteen, a disputed succession reopened the religious conflicts. Lady Jane was Queen for only nine days, during that time reigning in name only, before she was replaced by Mary. Queen Mary then sought to undo many of Edward's Protestant reforms.

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