8 August 1553 – Edward VI’s funeral
Posted By Claire on August 8, 2016
On 8th August 1553, King Edward VI’s remains were interred in a white marble vault beneath the altar of his grandfather Henry VII’s Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey. Edward had died on 6th July 1553 at the age of fifteen – click here to read more about his death.
Edward’s grave was unmarked until a memorial stone was placed in front of the altar in 1966. The funeral service was performed by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, in keeping with Edward VI’s Protestant faith, so Mary I attended a private mass for her half-brother’s soul in the Tower of London.
5 thoughts on “8 August 1553 – Edward VI’s funeral”
Poor Edward! I think it would have been interesting, had he lived longer and became the King of England he seemed to be turning into. What an awful way to die, poor fellow!
We really did royal funerals and the preparations for them in those days. Even though the reburial and internment of Richard lll last year was over six days, the coffin going from place to place, laying in state, requium and vespers, various services and then internment, this was a compressed version of what you did years ago. A month or so from death to burial, wow. Royal funerals moved slowly from cross to cross, Cathedral to Cathedral, lay in state for days, had mass after mass or services over days, processing from place to place, then the burial and more services. I suppose that not having a tomb for Edward was in keeping with the new austerity to mark the reformation so it is appropriate for him. What a pity there was no marker for a long time. How did they find or recall where he was?
One has to wonder about the kind of king he would have been. Pretty ruthless to be willing to disinherit his sisters in favor of a cousin, and a bit reckless. Had he no idea how popular both ladies were? I can see his dread of Mary’s accession. She could have been expected to act exactly as she eventually did, in restoring, if temporarily, the Old Faith. Passing over Mary would have pitted the sisters against each other. He may have thought Elizabeth would not take the risk involved in supplanting Mary. Edward and Mary were certainly alienated over the issue of faith. We will never know how much of this was Dudley’s influence, though it must have been a factor.
Poor boy! What a life he led! No one really close to him for so much of his life to love him.
Yes he had never known his mother and from an early age was told how important he was, his fathers long awaited heir, he was surrounded by sycophants and power hungry men, chief of these was Dudley who played on Edwards extreme devotion to his religion, of Dudleys intentions most were quite suspicious as he had married his son to Lady Jane Grey thus all what was needed was to convince the ailing boy to leave his crown to her then Dudley’s position would be secure, he would rule England through his son and daughter in law, both Edward and his son and Jane were all pawns of Dudley’s overwhelming ambition, how many men and women have died for glory yet their fame was always short lived, Edward who by now was gravely ill and possibly just wanted it over and done with, let himself be coerced to name Jane as his successor and by doing so sealed his doomed cousins fate, he could not have been aware how dangerous that was and of the repercussions it would bring, he nearly risked civil war and of course it’s true, he never knew how popular Mary was especially in the north, he was just a boy who let himself be the victim of passive aggressive behaviour from a man who made out he was a friend he could trust yet in reality was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, there was also a rumour that Dudley had him poisoned and thus prolonged his suffering and in fact he lies buried somewhere in a London field while an unknown boy lies in state in Westminster, I don’t really believe this yet Dudley was ruthless enough to have had a young lad murdered, some one of the lower classes whose death would pass by without much fuss and it is a fascinating thought, a royal murder mystery whodunit! Is the body that of an imposter who lies buried within the royal tombs of England and does her true king lie deep in the earth unknown and forgotton?
The fascinating 19th century discovery of Edward VI’s burial vault and coffin, along with those of Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary Queen of Scots, James I, etc. are documented in ‘Historical Memorials of Westminster Abbey’ by Dean A.P. Stanley:
(in the Appendix, starting on pg. 561)