On Friday 28th January 1547 the fifty-five year-old King Henry VIII died at the Palace of Whitehall. His death was kept secret until 31st January, giving the King’s Council time to discuss what was going to happen regarding the accession of Henry VIII’s nine year-old son, Edward, who became King Edward VI.
Chroniclers Edward Hall and Charles Wriothesley recorded the King’s death:
“Now approched to thys noble kyng, that whych is God decreed, and appoynted to all menne, for at thys ceason in the monethe of Ianuary, he yelded hys spirite to almightie God and departed thys worlde, and lyeth buried at Wyndsore. And the laste daye of Ianuary was hys true, lawful and onely sonne Prynce Edwarde Proclaymed kyng, of all his fathers dominions, and the xix daye of February, was crouned and anoynted Kynge of thys realme, whome Iesu preserue, longe to reygne ouer vs.”1
“The 31 of Januarie my lord major was sent for to the Perliament Chamber at Westminster, before the lordes of the Kinges Majesties Privie Counsell, and their was declared to them by my Lord Chauncelor and other the death of the Kinges Majestie Henrie the Eight, our Soveraigne Lord, which deceased to Almightie God on Fridaie last, being the 28th of Januarie, and straig[ht]ly charging them to keepe the Kinges peace and to loke the savegarde of the Kinges Majesties Chambre of London, and so they departed.
Imediatlie, the said lordes in their ordre, with Garter, the King of Haroldes, and other, in their cote armors, came out of the Perliament Chambre into the Palace of Westminster Hall with a trumpett, and their proclamation was made by the said Garter under the Kinges brode seale. Edward the Sixth, sonne and heire of our late Soveraigne Lord, to be King of this realme of England, France and Ireland, Defendour of the Faith, &c., and of the churches of England and also of Ireland the Supream Head, ymediatlie under God on earth.”2
The King is dead! Long live the King!
You can read more about Henry VIII’s final days in my article 28 January 1547 – Henry VIII dies.
Beth von Staats, author of Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell has written a moving fictional account of Henry VIII’s last days over on the Tudor Society website. Click here to read it now.
Today is also the anniversary of the birth of the Tudor dynasty’s founder, King Henry VII, in 1457 at Pembroke Castle – click here to read more about this.
Notes and Sources
- Hall, Edward (1809) Hall’s chronicle: containing the history of England, during the reign of Henry the Fourth, and the succeeding monarchs, to the end of the reign of Henry the Eighth, in which are particularly described the manners and customs of those periods. Carefully collated with the editions of 1548 and 1550, printed for J. Johnson; F.C. and J. Rivington; T. Payne; Wilkie and Robinson; Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme; Cadell and Davies; and J. Mawman; London. p.868.
- Wriothesley, Charles (1875) A chronicle of England during the reigns of the Tudors, from A.D. 1485 to 1559, Volume 1, Camden Society, p. 178.