1.7 The Reign of Edward VI (1547 - 1553)
Edward came to the throne of England by the act of succession passed by Henry VIII. As he was a minor he was to be guided by the ‘Council of Regency’ in carrying out the day-to-day administration. Henry VIII appointed a well-balanced council. As the opinion of the members of Council changed the plans of Henry VIII suffered. The Duke of Somerset, the king’s uncle was a member of the Council of Regency. He held strong opinions. He became the protector of the new King. He practically ruled England from 1547 - 1549. It was he who declared war against Scotland as they refused the marriage proposal of Edward with Mary of Scotland. Mary was married to the French Prince, resulting in bad relations between England and Scotland.
The Duke of Somerset was a Protestant who supported the Reformation
movement. During this time, Catholicism was greatly criticized.
However, in 1552, the Duke of Somerset was executed under charges
of conspiracy. After the execution of the Duke of Somerset, the
Duke of Northumberland started gaining power. He started to rule
the country on behalf of Edward VI from 1549 - 1533. Northumberland
(Warwick) was a cunning man. He was a staunch Protestant. He encouraged
reformation in England. He forced Edward VI to declare Jane Grey,
granddaughter of Henry VIII’s youngest sister to be the heiress
to the throne of England after Edward VI whose health was failing.
However, the plans of the Edward VI under the influence of Northumberland failed. Edward VI died in 1553 and the crown went to Mary Tudor.