This day marked the culmination of all Edward Seymour’s ambitions: he was appointed Lord Protector of England to rule on behalf of his nephew, the nine-year-old Edward VI. Although Henry VIII’s will contemplated a Council to fill this function, his executors took the position (not unreasonably) that this system would be unworkable in practice. And of course they expected Seymour to be more “first among equals” than simply “first” but that’s beside the point….
Anyway, here is the Privy Council description of the transformation – which takes about 500 words to explain that the Councilors assembled, heard the will, swore loyalty to the new King, decided to create a Lord Protector, received Edward VI’s consent and kissed his hand, then notified all the foreign dignitaries. This was part of the new standard of documenting the acts of the Privy Council – a way of proving how seriously they took their new fiduciary role. I cleaned up the language some…for those of you who want the fun of really slogging through yourself, I have included a link later – and for those of you whose brains twist from the convoluted sentences, sorry I didn’t go further:
The first day of February, being Tuesday, all the said executors assembled again together in the Tower of London and there, according to their former appointments, soon afterwards heard the will deliberately read from the beginning to the end. Concluding with one voice to adhere and stick to the performance of it, they did first take their oaths to the King’s Majesty, our Sovereign Lord, and after immediately swore to the due and faithful observation of the said will as they had resolved the day before. And forasmuch as this day all the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and all others appointed by the King’s Majesty our late Sovereign Lord (whom God absolve) to be of Council with our Sovereign Lord that now is, for the aide and assistance of the executors and Privy Councilors in all cases wherein the same should have need of advice and counsel, were appointed to have their access to the King’s Majesty’s presence, it was also ordered that the whole number of executors present should repair to the King’s Majesty and declare to him what they had done touching the naming and placing of the said Earl of Hertford, his uncle, to be Protector of his realms and dominions and Governor of his person, and to require his consent to the same; and that done that we should declare the same first to the Council not being executors, and after to all the Lords in the presence of the King’s Majesty, which was done in every point as was determined. And first the King’s Majesty by the advice and consent of all the said executors being present with him gave his royal assent that the said Earl of Hertford should be Protector of his realms and dominions and Governor of his person, next it was declared to the Council, and thirdly to all the Lords, being the same declared unto them by the said Lord Chancellor, who with one voice gave their consents to the same.
Which being done and the Lords again departed which were appointed that day to see the King’s Majesty and to kiss his hands, which they did accordingly, the Lord Protector with the rest of the co-executors repaired again to their Council Chamber and there dispatched the letters written in the name of the King’s Majesty with the advice of the said Lord Protector and the rest of His Highness’ Privy Council to the Emperor, French King, the Regent of Flanders etc, under their hand and subscription only of the said Lord Protector; and divers warrants for cloth for the mourning livery and for one hundred pounds for Mr. Bellingham being sent to the Emperor and Regent, and one hundred marks for Sir Peter Mewtes, being sent to the French King, under the hands of the said Lord Protector and others of his co-executors as appertained.
Craving more? Here’s the link I promised to Acts of the Privy Council…
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