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The Middle Tudor Monarchs

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The Middle Tudor Monarchs Edward VI was born on October 12, 1537. His parents were England's King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Henry's third wife. For more than a quarter century Henry had desperately wanted a son, and Edward's birth caused great rejoicing. But Queen Jane soon fell ill with childbed fever, and on October 24 she died. Until the age of six Edward was raised by his nurse, Mother Jack, and other servants. During that time Henry took two wives in quick succession, but both marriages ended badly; Anne of Cleves was discarded because the king found her ugly, and Katherine Howard was executed for adultery. In 1543 Henry married Katherine Parr, who became a loving stepmother to Edward and his older half sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. She was a highly learned woman who personally oversaw Prince Edward's education. Edward's tutors taught him geography, government, history, French, German, Greek, and Latin. He was also given lessons in etiquette, fencing, horseback riding, music and other gentlemanly pursuits. Perhaps most important to Edward was his study of the Scriptures. He became a devout Protestant even though his father, who had severed England's connection to the Roman Catholic Church, remained conservative and mostly Catholic in his beliefs. Although Edward was serious and studious, at times he displayed a savage temper. According to one account, he once tore a living falcon into four pieces. Henry VIII died in 1547 and his nine-year-old son became King Edward VI. A council was appointed to rule during Edward's minority, with Edward's uncle, the duke of Somerset (Jane Seymour's brother), as Protector of the country and the king. Somerset's brother, Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour, was jealous of Somerset and schemed to put himself in power. The admiral was arrested and charged with treason. Somerset hesitated to sign his brother's death warrant, so Edward gave the council permission to have his uncle beheaded. Somerset himself later fell from the king's favor and lost his role as Protector. The duke of Northumberland took control of the
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