Edward VI (12 October 1537 – 21 June 1604) became King of England, France and Ireland on 28 January 1547 age 9 and was crowned on 20 February at the age of thirteen. The son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Edward was the third monarch of the Tudor dynasty and England, Ireland and France's (Later Scotland as well) first Protestant ruler. During Edward’s early reign, the realm was governed by a Regency Council up until he reached the age of 16. The Council was led by Gregory Cromwell, 5th Duke of Norfolk.
Edward's early reign was marked by economic problems and unrest in France and Ireland. After he came to truly rule his own realm in 1553, he brought about brutal repression to the riots in Paris, established Protestant reforms in the church and raised an army to invade Scotland, which he did in 1561, starting what would become known as the Tudor-Stuart wars, eventually resulting in the conquest of Scotland and, through Personal Union, the unification of the British Isles under one ruler.
The Early Years
After the death of his father, the renowned Henry VIII, Edward was crowned King of England, Ireland and France by Thomas Cranmer. Throughout his early reign, Gregory Cromwell (who had been regent in the later years of his father's life) was his Lord Protector and governed the realms on Edward's behalf. Gregory was unpopular among the nobility of France and was a rival of the Seymour family, especially Edward Seymour, who believed (as he was the uncle of the King) that he was the rightful Lord Protector. Some of the Remaining French Nobility also posed a threat to stability due to their wish to restore their nation's Independence. Gregory and the soon to be of age King agreed that the execution of Edward Seymour and several French nobles was necessary to maintain order in the realm. By the end of the Regency, the majority of the King and Gregory's threats and rivals were dead. On his sixteenth birthday, Gregory's status as Lord Protector ended and he lost considerable influence. However, he maintained many high offices, including Secretary of State, Chancellor, Vicegerent in Spirituals and Lord Privy Seal.
The Scottish Wars
Due to his father's conquest of France and Gregory Cromwell's prudent regency, Edward was in a considerable position of power when he took direct control of his Kingdoms. Edward, seeking to bring about the total domination of the British isles, began a full scale war with Scotland. Initially, he proved highly successful in his efforts, but a combination of Scottish insurgency in occupied territories and the the loyalty of the Scottish nobility to the Queen of Scots caused it to drag on and remain costly. Edward, however, would eventually come to an agreement with Mary which would serve to fulfill his goals of dominance while freeing him of the war.
Due to the expensive, unrelenting war in Scotland, Edward married Mary, Queen of Scots in 1556. This ended the wars initially, though after Edward had himself declared King of Scots in joint rule with Mary, a civil war broke out in Scotland which would not end (for the most part) until his heir, the future Henry IX, was born, though most of the revolt had already been crushed by force at that time). Mary and Edward would go on to have 4 other children.
|Henry, Prince of Wales, Later Henry IX||1558||Isabella of Spain, Daughter of Philip II||1628|
|Edward, Duke of York||1560||Catherine Michelle of Spain, Daughter of Philip II||1635|
|Thomas, Duke of Somerset||1561||Catherine Knollys||1641|
|Jane||1561||Charles Stuart, Earl of Lennox||1650|
|Mary||1563||Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor||1640|
Throughout the rest of his reign, Edward's efforts centered around the consolidation of power in his various Kingdoms, steps toward official unity and forwarding colonization efforts in the New World. Though he would fight a brief war with some of the duchies of the Holy Roman Empire, Edward would miraculously near totally avoid war throughout the bulk of his reign. As a result of this, he was largely able to concentrate on what he already controlled. This allowed for more consolidation of power in France to ensure his continued control over it. He also worked to gain more control and dominance in Scotland, both to ensure the loyalty of his new subjects, and also to allow him to begin working towards a total merging of Scotland with England. As time went on, his efforts at consolidation proved highly successful and, by the time of his death in 1604, the Tudor Dynasty was firmly entrenched in all of its domains.