Edward VI is often the forgotten Tudor Monarch. Yet under his short reign, England underwent the reformation that transformed the country forever.

He became King on the death of his father, Henry VIII, on the 28th of January 1547. He died, aged just 1553 in 1553.

Here are fourteen mind-blowing facts about “the boy king” Edward VI.

1. He was the only royal prince born at Hampton Court.

Hampton Court Palace is closely associated with the Tudor Dynasty. However, he was the only royal prince ever to be born inside its red brick walls.

He was born to Jane Seymour, Henry VIII’s third wife, on 12th October 1537.

His birth caused widespread celebration on the streets of London. Two thousand guns were discharged at the Tower of London by way of celebration.

However, the celebrations were short-lived for the King as Queen Jane died from “childbed fever” just 11 days after giving birth.

2. Edward VI’s sister was his godmother.

Both of young Prince Edward’s half-sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, were present at his christening. This took place just three days after his birth.
Mary was twenty-one years of age at the time of Edward’s birth (showing just how long Henry VIII was married to Catherine of Aragon) and unmarried. There were no prospects for marriage for Mary, so her father decided that she should be her brother’s godmother.
Mary did eventually marry but had no children. It was the closest she came to motherhood.

3. Henry VIII’s cleaning regime would have rivalled Mrs. Hinch.

Henry VIII was many things, but we have to give him credit where it is due. He believed that there was a link between cleanliness and health.

Therefore he ordered an extreme cleaning schedule for Edward’s apartments that would have put any cleaning guru to shame.

The walls and floor had to be scrubbed with soap and water daily. All of Edward’s clothing and his bedding were kept impeccably clean.

Anyone visiting Edward’s apartments could not be showing any signs of disease.

Henry was determined to do everything possible to ensure his son didn’t get sick, because as he said, Edward was “this whole realm’s most precious jewel.”

4. Edward had no mother figure.

Edward had three different stepmothers after the death of his mother, Jane Seymour.

Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard didn’t last long enough to make much of an impact with Edward or sisters.

However, Catherine Parr made great efforts to bond with Mary and, in particular, Elizabeth. This same level of affection did not happen with Edward as he was away from court, in a male-dominated environment learning how to become a king.

5. He was taught with a bunch of friends…and his sister Elizabeth.

Henry VIII brought in a group of “companions” for young Prince Edward. These were mainly the male children of the leading nobles of the country. It was a little like a modern-day boarding school.

There was only one girl in attendance at these lessons—Edward’s half-sister Elizabeth.

She benefited from the same level of education as the future King. This served her well when she eventually came to the throne.

6. Edward VI was going to marry Mary Queen of Scots.

Henry VIII had the grand idea of marrying Edward to the young Mary Queen of Scots and unifying the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

It seemed to be a great idea, and plans were put in place.

But then the Scots decided this wasn’t such a good idea and went against the agreement.

This started a war between England and Scotland that was known as the “Rough Wooing.”

7. Or…Edward VI was going to marry Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey was born at almost the same time as Edward VI. She was the daughter of Henry VIII’s niece.

Lady Jane Grey’s parents had a grand idea that their daughter would marry Edward and be Queen one day.

Both Edward and Lady Jane Grey were protestant, so it seemed like a good idea in principle.

They enlisted Thomas Seymour, one of Edward’s uncles, to help with the scheme. Still, it all failed when Seymour was arrested…

8. Edward VI wrote an essay calling the Pope the Anti-Christ.

These days young children often produce a piece of writing about “What I did on my holidays.”

However, Edward wrote a lengthy study on religion and specifically about why the Pope in Rome should be considered the Anti-Christ.

9. Edward kept a diary – that was quite dull.

Edward VI kept a diary which he referred to as his chronicle.

In it, he wrote about all aspects of his life and the kingdom. Most of the writing was quite dull and tedious. However, he wrote with clear interest about the wars taking place in Scotland and France. He included many details that have been invaluable to historians over the years.

The chronicle now resides at the British Library.

10. Edward VI was not at Henry VIII’s bedside when he died.

There is a famous portrait called Edward VI and the Pope. It shows Edward at his father’s bedside as he is dying.

Henry is handing over power to his son, who is surrounded by the leading nobles and court figures of the day.

At Edward’s feet is the pope – defeated by the young King.

This picture was painted during his sister Elizabeth’s reign.

When he died, Edward was not at his father’s bedside (And the Pope certainly wasn’t.) In fact, Henry VIII’s death was concealed for several days while the throne was secured for Edward.

He was collected from Hertford by his Uncle Edward Seymour and taken to his sister Elizabeth at Enfield. There they were both told of the death of their father at the same time.

11. Edward had a tiny little crown.

Because he was only nine, a unique lightweight crown was made for him. He wrote in his chronicle that he wore this throughout the coronation banquet at Westminister.

12. Edward’s dog foiled a kidnap plot…but it ended in disaster.

Edward’s uncle Edward Seymour became “Lord Protector” after Henry VIII’s death. He ruled the kingdom as Edward VI was too young to do so.

However, Edward’s other uncle Thomas Seymour thought that he should be sharing power with his elder brother. Edward Seymour disagreed.

Thomas Seymour tried everything to increase his influence in the country, including marrying Henry VIII’s widow Catherine Parr.

In the end, Thomas Seymour came up with a crazy scheme to “kidnap” the King and force his brother into sharing power.

Thomas believed that Edward VI would come with him willingly. Thomas used to give the young king “pocket money” as Edward Seymour kept a very tight grip on the royal purse strings. Thomas Seymour was the King’s favourite uncle.

However, when Thomas broke into the King’s apartments one night, Edward VI’s dog barked loudly, waking everyone up. In a desperate attempt to stop the dog from barking, Thomas Seymour shot it dead.

Edward VI was heartbroken at the death of his favourite dog and made no attempts to stop the execution of his uncle for treason.

13. He wrote coldly about the execution of his uncle.

It wasn’t just Thomas Seymour that went to the scaffold; his elder brother Edward Seymour soon followed him.

The council that Henry VIII had put into place to run the country until Edward reached 18 got fed up with the way Edward Seymour had taken control.

He was removed in a coup.

John Dudley replaced him. Edward Seymour wasn’t pleased with this and plotted to overthrow him and take back power. He was arrested and executed in January 1552.

Edward VI coldly wrote this famous sentence about it in his chronicle. “the duke of Somerset had his head cut off upon Tower Hill between eight and nine o’clock in the morning.”

14. Edward VI wrote his own device for the succession.

When it became clear to him that he was dying, Edward wrote his own “device for the succession.”

He did not want the crown to pass to his catholic half-sister mary. Instead, he gave the crown to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey.

He wrote out this entire document by hand, and it still exists today.

However, Lady Jane Grey was only Queen for nine days before Mary managed to wrestle back power.