Edward was the son that Henry had torn the country apart to get. For this son, Henry had first abandoned his wife of twenty years, Catherine of Aragon, then cast off (actually executed) the woman he had pursued for close to a decade, Anne Boleyn.
Edward’s reign would mark an interesting shift from Henrician policies. Specifically, Edward had been deeply influenced by his last stepmother, Katherine Parr. Katherine married Henry when Edward was five. For the next four years, she focused on bringing a family life to the royal children. She supervised their educations, and saw to it that Edward was well exposed to Protestant teachings.
Of course, Edward was not yet in a position to rule at this point. Henry’s will had contemplated a council of advisors who would share power during the boy’s minority. Instead, Edward Seymour (Henry’s brother-in-law and Edward VI’s uncle) seized power, appointing himself Lord Protector – and while he was at it, Duke of Somerset. That story ended badly, but at this point in time the world was hopeful…
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