Saving Edward VI

On 11 October 1549 King Edward VI was rescued from Windsor Castle, where his uncle, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, had taken him after kidnapping the young king in an attempt to keep the Privy Council from deposing Somerset’s reign as Lord Protector.

Portrait_of_Edward_VI_of_England 1550

Somerset had done such a good job of convincing Edward that the council was trying to kill them both that when the king saw his rescue party he was anything but relieved. As I explain in my latest book, Edward VI in a Nutshell:

When the duke was arrested via a coup at Windsor on 11 October, the king’s first reaction to his liberators was profound alarm. He had been told so often and so urgently by his uncle that the councilors meant to kill them both that the boy-king had no doubt that was what they intended to do. Happily for Edward, he “was soon afterwards disabused; and when he went from there to Hampton Court and dismounted, he thanked all the company for having rid him of such fear and peril” (CPS, Spain, 17 October, 1549). Assured of his safety, he complained about his time at Windsor, where he had been “much troubled with a great rheum” and where he felt as though he was “in prison” because there were “no galleries nor gardens to walk in” Tytler, 1839).

Nonetheless, the king still loved his uncle and moved to protect Somerset from the consequences of his actions:

Under Edward’s protection and due to the king’s intervention, the former protector was able to pay a fine and be released from the Tower with the king’s pardon on 6 February, 1550. By May of that same year Somerset’s lands were restored to him and he was elevated once again to gentleman of the privy chamber. Imperial ambassador Jehan Scheyfve wrote to the emperor that summer to tell him about an event where; “Many lords of the Council and noblemen were present; among others the Duke of Somerset, once Protector, and the Marquis of Northampton. All those who were present showed great respect to the said Somerset. He seems to have recovered his health and to be reinstated in honour and pre-eminence. He showed me a good countenance and received me well” (CSP, Spain, 17 June 1550).

Edward_Seymour 1st duke of somerset

Somerset wouldn’t be wise enough to simply be grateful for his life and enjoy his enormous wealth. Nope. He would start plotting to kill members of the privy council and restore himself to power, finally using up the last of Edward’s tolerance and getting himself beheaded in January of 1552.

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