In his desperate quest for an heir, King Henry VIII divorced one wife and beheaded another. The birth of Prince Edward on October 12, 1537, ended his father’s twenty-seven-year wait. Nine years later, Edward was on the throne, a boy-king of a nation in religious limbo and in a court where manipulation, treachery, and plotting were rife.Chris Skidmore describes how, in the six years of Edward’s reign, court intrigue, deceit, and treason very nearly plunged the country into civil war while the stability that the Tudors had sought to achieve came close to being torn apart. Even today, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are considered the two dominant figures of the Tudor period. But Edward’s reign is equally important. It was one of dramatic change and tumult whose impact is still felt today—certainly in terms of his religious reformation, which not only exceeded Henry’s ambitions but has endured for over four centuries since Edward’s death in 1553.
Henry VIII never underestimated the importance of a male heir. It was a lesson he had learnt at an early age. The turn of Fortune's wheel could be cruel, as it had been when he was just ten years old. Then the sudden death of his elder brother Arthur in April 1502 propelled him into the limelight as heir to the throne; overnight, Henry's life changed drastically. He was never meant to be king, nor had he even been prepared for such a task. For the sensitive and mild-mannered young child, a career in the Church had possibly beckoned; now, as Prince
Praise for Edward VI
“The brief reign of Henry VIII’s only son was one of the most pivotal moments in British history. In Edward VI, Chris Skidmore gives readers a revealing glimpse into the young king’s tumultuous reign. Crowned when he was only nine, Edward would live for six more years. Ruler of a nation embroiled in a war with Scotland, threatened by religious divisions and thrust into the center of the power struggles at the Tudor court, Edward was guided by tutors and rival uncles who valued their own agendas above anything else.”—History magazine
“This is an engaging and evocative portrait of Edward VI . . . filled with vivid detail.”—Alison Weir, author of Henry VIII: The King and His Court“A revealing glimpse into the tumultuous six-year reign of Edward VI . . . Skidmore’s fast-paced biography . . . brings this king and his brief reign to vivid life.” —Publishers Weekly
“An impressive debut . . . A highly entertaining read . . . Sure-footed and evenhanded.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Youth triumphant: one of our brightest young historian’s impressive debut biography of England’s boy-king, Edward VI.” —David Starkey, author of Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
“The high drama of the Tudor century’s pivotal reign is brilliantly captured by this bright young historian.” —Robert Lacey, author of Majesty and The Year 1000