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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > October 2018 > Edward VI: The Forgotten Tudor King

Edward VI: The Forgotten Tudor King

The son Henry VIII always wanted is maligned as a sickly child – a reputation he doesn’t deserve. The real Edward, writes Tracy Borman, was a hearty lad who could have been as terrible as his father
Fixed gaze, hands on belt, legs wide; Edward was taught to mimic the poses Henry VIII used himself, as a way of displaying his virility and prowess
Edward’s birth was marked by 2,000 shots of cannon at the Tower of London


Henry was obsessed with preventing Edward from getting sick, to the point that he demanded that the walls, floors and ceilings of the Prince’s apartments be washed down several times a day.

This portrait shows a happy family that never was: Edward did not know his mother – she died days after he was born

“Far from being dominated by ambitious councillors, Edward had all the makings of a tyrant”

At around 2am on 12 October 1537, Jane Seymour, the third wife of King Henry VIII, was delivered of a healthy son - “the most beautiful boy that ever was seen”. This was the defining moment of Henry’s reign: he had waited more than 20 long years for a healthy son and heir. Beset with joy, the King rode to Hampton Court to meet his “precious jewel”, the saviour of his dynasty. Meanwhile, the news was conveyed to all corners of the kingdom, sparking widespread celebrations. A lavish christening was held three days later in the chapel at Hampton Court Palace, and the child was christened Edward.

It is one of the great ironies in history that the boy upon whom Henry lavished so much care and attention, and in whom all his hopes were vested, would reign for just six and a half years. It would be the younger of Edward’s half-sisters, Elizabeth, largely disregarded by their father, who would rescue the fortunes of the Tudor dynasty and become its greatest monarch.

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About History Revealed

Long before the seven wonders of the ancient world were even dreamt of, work had begun on Salisbury Plain to construct a monument out of stones. Why was Stonehenge built, who built it, and for what purpose? We explore the very latest theories behind England's oldest mystery. Plus: The brief reign of Tudor king Edward VI, the sacrifices of domestic servants, the D-Day trial that was a complete disaster, a full gallery of newly colourised pictures of the past, and more.