Happy Birthday Edward VI – Guest Post by Kyra Kramer

Oct12,2016 #Edward VI

Edward VI HolbeinThank you so much to Kyra Kramer for writing this guest post in honour of King Edward VI’s birthday.

Kyra has just released a fascinating book on Edward, Edward VI in a Nutshell and you can find out more about it at the bottom of this post and find out how you can win a copy of the book.

Edward VI came into the world on 12 October 1537 and was greeted with what can only be described as a lot of hoopla. Here was the son that Henry VIII had been trying to have for more than two decades! Jane Seymour, Henry’s third queen, was the triumphant mother of the royal prince. The rejoicing, both in the court and throughout the country, was immense. As I explain in my latest book, Edward VI in a Nutshell:

Every church in London sung Te Deum and there was a formal procession of thanksgiving in St Paul’s at eight o’clock that morning. The church bells rang all through the day and into the night, pealing out the nation’s happiness that God had blessed them all with a prince. There were bonfires everywhere, ‘fruites and wyne’ were distributed generously by royal command, and there was a 2,000-gun salute from the Tower.

The infant was swaddled and placed immediately with his wet-nurses and nursemaids. In the care of these devoted servants, Edward was whisked away from his mother. The newly-built nursery in Hampton Court had been thoroughly scrubbed down on Henry’s orders, and the tiny prince was taken to the security of his new residence.

There is no record, as there was with Anne Boleyn, that the baby’s mother asked to nurse him herself. This does not mean, of course, that Jane didn’t love her son as much as Anne loved her daughter. It is just as likely that Jane did not want to ask for something she already knew she would be denied than that she didn’t care if she nursed little Edward or not. Additionally, Jane knew the protocol of royal births and evidence suggests she was not the kind of person to raise much of a fuss to change it. With few exceptions, what we know of Jane suggests she was easy-going and conciliatory.

Jane, though doubtlessly exhausted from her physical efforts, had one more chore to perform before she could rest. By tradition, it was the queen’s job to formally announce the birth to the king. There is still a record of Jane’s letter to Henry, and it bursts with the elation and pride she was clearly feeling:

Right trusty and well beloved, we greet you well, and for as much as by the inestimable goodness and grace of Almighty God, we be delivered and brought in childbed of a prince, conceived in most lawful matrimony between my the king’s majesty and us, doubting not but that for the love and affection which you bear unto us and to the commonwealth of this realm, the knowledge thereof should be joyous and glad tidings unto you, we have thought good to certify you of the same. To the intent you might not only render unto God condign thanks and prayers for so great a benefit but also continually pray for the long continuance and preservation of the same here in this life to the honour of God, joy and pleasure of my lord the king and us, and the universal wealth, quiet and tranquility of this whole realm.

Jane Seymour-Hans_Holbein_d._J._032bTo be honest, before I started writing the book on Edward I had never given him much thought. In part, it was because his short reign seemed insignificant compared to the monarchial spans of the other Tudors. However, another part of it was that I just don’t like Jane Seymour. In my opinion, she did everything that Anne Boleyn was unfairly accused of and came out smelling like a historical rose. That offends my sense of fairness. The fact she was the lucky recipient of a Y-chromosome sperm and is given “credit” for a having boy when women have nothing to do with the gender of their infant just added to my feelings of cosmic injustice. What did I care about Jane’s sickly son when I could read about Anne’s daughter, Good Queen Bess?

The only reason I started writing the book on Edward is because I have a plausible reason for why he, his paternal uncle, Arthur Tudor, and his half-brother, Henry Fitzroy, all died in such a similar fashion in their mid-teens. I dove into my research on Edward’s life merely to get to the “important” parts of his death.

Well, the joke was on me. I found Edward fascinating. Not only did he remind me of both his half-sisters, he was a complex and intriguing person in his own right. He was as devout as a Mary regarding his beliefs, and as cerebral as Elizabeth. He was a polymath like Henry VIII, but his personality was more like his rather stern grandfather Henry VII than his fun-loving father. He had, like all Tudors, a will of iron and a rock-solid determination to do as he saw fit. He may have only been fifteen years old when he died, but he had been the driving force of his own policies since he was thirteen. I had always thought that Edward was a puppet king for the Duke of Somerset and then the Duke of Northumberland, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Edward was his own man years before he reached the age of manhood.

By the time I was finished writing Edward VI in a Nutshell I was genuinely grieved that the young king had never gotten to live up to his potential. What a sovereign he would have been! He would probably have been as canny as Elizabeth without the burden of being a woman. But would he have been harsher toward Catholics? His sister Mary had lashed out at the Protestants she saw as endangering the souls of her subjects; would Edward have crushed those he saw as false idolaters? Would there have been a sort-of reverse inquisition under this implacable and fundamentalist ruler? Would he have had more penchant for warfare than Elisabeth? Would Spain and England have come to loggerheads anyway? Would he have been able to reproduce more successfully than his father, spawning a Tudor dynasty that lasted centuries rather than decades?

We’ll never know, because this brilliant and capable king died horribly when he was still a youngster. For the first time, I see that as a true tragedy for England instead of a step toward the creation of Queen Elizabeth I, the greatest monarch to ever grace the British throne.

Edward VI in a Nutshell

edward-vi-in-a-nutshellMadeGlobal’s History in a Nutshell Series aims to give readers a good grounding in a historical topic in a concise, easily digestible and easily accessible way.

Born twenty-seven years into his father’s reign, Henry’s VIII’s son, Edward VI, was the answer to a whole country’s prayers. Precocious and well-loved, his life should have been idyllic and his own reign long and powerful. Unfortunately for him and for England, that was not to be the case. Crowned King of England at nine years old, Edward was thrust into a world of power players, some who were content to remain behind the throne, and some who would do anything to control it completely. Devoutly Protestant and in possession of an uncanny understanding of his realm, Edward’s actions had lasting effects on the religious nature of the kingdom and would surely have triggered even more drastic changes if he hadn’t tragically and unexpectedly died at the age of fifteen.

Physicians of the day wrote reams of descriptions of the disease that killed him, but in Edward VI in a Nutshell, medical anthropologist Kyra Kramer (author of Henry VIII’s Health in a Nutshell) proposes a new theory of what, exactly, caused his death.

Straightforward and informative, Edward VI in a Nutshell will give readers a better understanding than they’ve ever had of the life, reign, and death, of England’s last child monarch.

Paperback: 108 pages
Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing; 1 edition (October 11, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8494593706
ISBN-13: 978-8494593703

Available as a paperback and kindle book – use this link http://getbook.at/edward_vi to find out more about the book on your country’s Amazon site.

Kyra Cornelius Kramer is a freelance academic with BS degrees in both biology and anthropology from the University of Kentucky, as well as a MA in medical anthropology from Southern Methodist University. She has written essays on the agency of the Female Gothic heroine and women’s bodies as feminist texts in the works of Jennifer Crusie. She has also co-authored two works; one with Dr. Laura Vivanco on the way in which the bodies of romance heroes and heroines act as the sites of reinforcement of, and resistance to, enculturated sexualities and gender ideologies, and another with Dr. Catrina Banks Whitley on Henry VIII.

Kyra is also the author of Blood will Tell: A medical explanation of the tyranny of Henry VIII, Henry VIII’s Health in Nutshell, and The Jezebel Effect: Why the sl*t shaming of famous queens still matters.


To be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of this book, all you have to do is leave a comment below by midnight Monday 17th October explaining why you’d love to read this book. One lucky comment will be picked at random and the writer contacted for their details.

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74 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Edward VI – Guest Post by Kyra Kramer”
  1. I always wonder about King Edward and there’s so little information about him. I’ve recently discovered that Mary was his favorite sister and he was competitive with Elizabeth. He’s an interesting and overlooked king, in my opinion.
    I’m also dying to know more about Kyra’s statement claiming that Queen Jane was guilty of the the charges made against Queen Anne. What is that about? I’d love an article expanding that idea, unless it’s covered in the book.

    1. I don’t think Kyra means that Jane was guilty of the official charges laid against Anne, I think she’s referring to what people today accuse Anne of being/doing.

      1. I think she means more the fact that Ann Boleyn was accused of being a wh*re, whereas in fact it is likely she was one of the very few of Henry’s wives to be a virgin when they were married and in fact there are rumours that Jane was not chaste. Also, Anne was accused of conspiring to bring down Henry’s marriage from the very beginning although actually, when Henry first started pursuing her, she can have had no notion that Henry would set aside his lawful wife, a Princess of Spain, for her. Whereas Jane knew from the very beginning that it was possible that Henry could set aside a Queen of England to make room for a new one.

      2. I think Kyra means that Jane, like Anne, pushed Henry away and wouldn’t be his mistress. She wanted only to be Henry’s wife just like Anne did.

        I would be interested in this book because the lives of the children (and young teens) of this family history are intriguing. I’ve read about the princes in the Tower…

        1. Yep what?! I think Miss Kyra has That whole ‘get the readers hyped up’ thing down to a sciene!

        2. Oh sheesh! I read that right after I woke up. My mental abilities take a little longer than my eyes. I’m mildly excited to think that Queen Jane had a little spirit in her.

    2. Jane played the virginity card, as Anne did, and played for the ultimate prize, to take the Crown from the Queen. She married Henry in the same month Anne was executed.

      The difference is that Jane got her prize quickly, and was not at the forefront long enough to make a lot of enemies. She did not live long enough to use whatever influence being mother of the heir might have brought her, so again, few enemies. Henry did not value her opinion as he had Anne’s, so her influence was less. She was generally less controversial, as Anne was not permitted to linger and make trouble as Katherine had. As Henry’s daughters were no threat to her, she could be conciliatory, rather than hostile.

      Anne was a woman playing for political power, not just a crown-she was a serious threat to male courtiers, and inclined to make sure they knew it. She instigated major change, which is always a good way to make enemies.

      We don’t really know if Jane was a tool in her brothers’ hands, really an innocent, or fairly clever in her own right. She was certainly warned by Henry to keep out of politics.

      She certainly took what she could have, but that hardly would make her unusual.
      And , of course, since she got the lucky Y, she did not get framed for adultery and executed.

  2. Having been interested in the Tudor’s for more than 50 years, I look hence to read about this most unknown of the dynasty. I eagerly anticipate reading this book!

  3. This book would be so interesting I have read a lot of tudor books but have to say I don’t know very much about the short life of Edward VI.

  4. I own several books on the well-known aspects of the Dynasty but I am eager to learn about Edward and what he had to offer the dynasty and try to see what kind of monarch he could have been if he lived into adulthood.

  5. I had always been led to believe that Edward died of consumption, I’d be fascinated to read an alternative theory.

  6. I’ve been hooked on the Tudor Dynasty for
    2 years now and I’ve watched everything I can find and read on them 🙂
    I would love to read this book 🙂

  7. As I’m obsessed with Anne and Elizabeth, if be so thrilled at the chance to read more about the boy king who was Elizabeth’s competition! Thanks for the opportunity!

  8. it’s like taking a peep, reading about the Ghost’s of years long gone, but that enrich our History, the King’s and Queen’s had a lot on their plate, unlike the present day Monarch, happy reading whoever the winner is.

  9. I love reading anything about the Tudors, but I am also researching them on my own. I have a library of just Tudor books that is separate from my other library. I use the various factual books for my research while I am still in college. I have plans to cross over and see these places first hand as soon as I get a chance.

  10. Neither Elizabeth nor Mary was left undamaged by their dysfunctional upbringing. I would like to know the effects on Edward. I recall reading extracts from the diary he kept. He came across as clever but cold in his nature. I would like to know more about him.

  11. With Edward V1 it is a case of what `if’ he had survived longer. A highly intelligent child and adolescence but somewhat flawed with the intense form of religious Protestantism that demolished some much from the non secular aspect of life. Would he have gone on to create a kingdom along the lines of the Swiss political system, he appears to have been edging that way. I look forward to reading this book – Thank you

  12. I’d be fascinated to know how you managed to establish a common link between the deaths of Prince Arthur, Henry Fitzroy and Edward VI. I’d always previously assumed that Henry VIII was just the unluckiest of English monarchs.

  13. I care little for Kings, but have great sympathy for their victims. Of course, one doesn’t have to be a king to victimize and oppress women. As we can see from the current political situation, men in power tend to especially enjoy picking on women to explain away their own failures and inadequacies. In a way, Queen Jane was lucky, since her death from puerperal fever assured at least her memory and reputation. His other wives and mistresses tended to have considerably less longevity. I’d be interested in discovering a bit more about her life.

  14. I would love to win this book as I also no nothing about the boy king. It would be fascinating to discover what killed Edward, Arthur and Henry Fitzroy.

  15. I would love the chance to read this also. Through my genealogy search I am a direct descendant of the line of Tudor and have been investigating them intently for a few years. More information on Edward would be appreciated. Sincerely

  16. I would love the chance to read this book. I, too, must confess to an utter lack of interest in the young King due to his rather unexciting mother, while absolutely devouring anything I can find on my obsession with Anne Boleyn, and her utterly fascinating daughter, Elizabeth. I never put it together about the three boys dying so young and for possibly the same cause.

  17. Since schooldays I always loved the English castles and all the wonderful stories of the kings and queens. During my first visit to England as a adult, I had a race against time to visit as many castles as possible. Back in South Africa again and in my Afrikaans little town, I started to focus on King Henry V111 and his wives and their nearby families. All the books mentioned that Edward V1 was a sickly little boy and I came to the conclusion that he was just king in name, coughing blood, deadly pale, with no energy, just waiting for his death. Like all the other ambitious people that surrounded him. Wonderful to hear of his strong will and that he actually reined for a while. Did those ambitious people killed him slowly? I would love to read more!
    Thank You for writing beautiful books Kyra!


  18. Like you I never gave two shakes about Jane, maybe it was because she slipped in so quickly after Anne’s death or maybe because she was so special when all she really did was marry Henry and have a son and die shortly after and was never really judged upon her own merits. Recently I have been reading more about Jane Grey which of course leads to learning a bit more about Edward. Being such a young man the little I know of him and his struggles to be recognized as a king and not manipulated by others is fascinating. I would very much appreciate being the winner of this book that appears to give us a deeper look into the young king and his untimely demise. pick me pick me lol 🙂 I really would like to read what you have found out

  19. Your guest post sent me to Google! I had always assumed he was a pale, ineffectual pawn and a pale reflection of his father — which I wrongly attributed to Jane Seymour’s ambient temperament. Thanks for leaving me hanging about medical issues pertaining to his premature demise…!

  20. I am a student of English history, specializing in this period and would love to read Ms. Kramer’s newest book. Thank you!

  21. Jane Seymour was more conventional than Anne Boleyn, so she would not even have thought about feeding Edward herself, it was not done and she knew that she had to fight the natural need to feed her baby that I assume your body gives you when you produce milk for your baby. That cannot have been easy or comfortable but Jane surely loved her son despite this. It is a shame that Jane did not live long enough to see him succeed or even act as his Regent or have an input as he began to rule as Edward was clearly brain washed by his father, since the last part of his device more or less calls Anne a wh*re, guilty of treason and adultery and that his illustrious father was well rid of her. A constant mother, rather than three step mother’s, even though Anne of Cleves and Katherine Parr had cared for him, would have balanced his views. Jane Seymour was not responsible for Anne’s fall and although she was not a fan, she was a fair person. I think that she would have begged her son to think more kindly of his sisters and not make a rash judgement about their mother’s.

  22. Looking forward to reading this book. Edward VI might have been an excellent protestant king without the imperfections of Henry VIII.

  23. It seems that Edward’s life, though short, had quite an impact. The beginnings of Protestantism, though just seedlings with Anne Boleyn and Henry, came to fruition and helped feed the need for freedom within the common man. Edward was not *the* reason for the breaking of the stangle hold of Rome, but played a very important part along with reformers during his time. The break with Rome allowed for England to be free, and men to understand they didn’t have to be in bondage to dead religion. Although total freedom didn’t start straightaway it was felt and still is felt generations later. Edward helped place within the heart of every Briton the idea that every man’s conscience is subject to God alone and not a pope, cardinal or priest.

  24. Like you, I never thought much about Edward VI until I was lucky enough to do a “behind the scenes” tour of the room in which he was born and his nursery at Hampton Court Palace. This made me think of him more as a person and less as just a name. I would love to read this book.

  25. I’ve been fascinated by the Tudors and their ancestors for years now and have read hundreds of books about them. I would love to read a book about Edward VI since I’ve never read anything about him 🙂

  26. Great article, but does it tell us more than we already know? I would like to hope so. Especially with the Arthur and Henry Fitzroy connection and how they all including Edward all died young as well as all being related and the illnesses were the same almost too. Why was it just the males that were affected and not the females? The women had a tendency to live longer but they say women outlive men. The only healthy surviving male was Henry VIII apart from nobles and common folk. It must all be genetic and down to diet of course. Apparently 95% of illness is self inflicted and the other 5% is genes. It just makes me wonder what kind of King Edward would of made and Arthur and Fitzroy for that matter what kind of men most importantly. He is not just the last Tudor Child but also the last Tudor King! :O

  27. I have studied the Tutors for many years. I look forward to reading this new book to learn more about Edward VI.

  28. I think I agree with the author I will be as surprised as she was to read he was so much more than what I imagined. I would love to read more about the traits he had coming from the rest of the family members. Fascinating read, love to have it.

  29. I would like very much to read this book. I am especially interested in his relations with his sisters, and also in his kingship which was the true turning point of english history.

  30. Edward VI is so easily overshadowed by his family. I know very little about him. Temporarily living abroad at the moment, books like this keep me (and my 9 yr old) in touch with our history and culture. My experience of history at school was very boring, so I came to liking it later in life. I’m thankful my daughter isn’t equally bored.

  31. I look forward to reading this book as his death sparks much speculation in historical fiction and always good to have more facts. Most importantly it will shed more light on the interesting subject of what the course of history and in particular religion in England would have been had he lived.

  32. Sad to say my knowledge of Edward is limited probably because of the gripping stories around his two sisters his diary entry after the execution of his uncle always seemed cold. I am never sure just how much Edward actually ruled or was he just the puppet of his uncle and the court. It would thrilling to discover the real Edward

  33. It is very sad that this prince died before he could fulfill his destiny like his uncle Arthur before him, and we can only speculate what kind of ruler he would have made, somehow I cannot see this earnest serious little boy who appeared to have no qualms in sending his one time favourite uncle to his death, (and here I see traits of Jane Seymour in him who had stood by and watched when her queen and mistress had fallen from grace and seemed not to bat an eyelid) and who was fanatical about his religion be ever as popular as his father was, from what iv read about Edward he seemed to be rather emotionless I cannot see him being over fond of the ladies either and cavorting about drunk, however I think he would have taken his duties seriously and governed England with an iron fist had he lived, it is so interesting to have seen the effect he would have had on his country and the world, I to find it a tragedy for England that he died so young, he was highly intelligent and gifted and I think he would have been a fair just King, maybe a bit over zealous but I think he would have made his mark in history like his father did, albeit rather differently as I doubt he would have married as many times (maybe he wouldn’t have had to), he may have had a fine son or two to follow him but fate decreed otherwise and this young lad who had cost his father three marriages and the death of two queens was destined never to raise England to glory, that great destiny was intended for his sister Elizabeth.

  34. I have read just about everything about the Tudors. My goodness a new book would be wonderful. Little is written about Edward VI I would love new information

  35. I have always been fascinated with the tudors! I would love to know what the authors theory is about the death of Edward the VI!

  36. I agree that I never really read much about Edward because he seemed a bit insignificant. I’m really looking forward to finding out what Kramer thinks was the cause of death. Thanks for bringing another awesome book to our attention!

  37. I’ve always been fascinated by the Tudors – especially Henry VIII and his dysfunctional family. Edward has always seemed the most obscure because of his youth and short reign. The genetic explanation for his, and his male relatives’ deaths sounds intriguing. Look forward to reading your book.

  38. I’ve always been fascinated by the Tudors – especially Henry VIII and his dysfunctional family. Edward has always seemed the most obscure because of his youth and short reign. The genetic explanation for his and his male relatives’ deaths sounds intriguing. Look forward to reading your book.

  39. I too have never spent much time researching Edward VI. I have seen very little literature on him and combined with his young age and short reign, I had always assumed that he was a puppet and the Seymours pulled the strings. But as I continue to read everything I can about the Tudors, he is certainly rising in my interest of the British Monarchy. He certainly seems to have been highly intelligent and principled for his age. Thank you for the opportunity to be in this giveaway.

  40. I would love to read about, what Ms. Kramer thinks was Edward’s cause of death. I always thought, that his portrait circa 1547 looked like my brother at that age.

  41. Also, I had never given much thought to a connection between the early deaths of Arthur Tudor, Henry Fitzroy, and Edward VI. I am very interested to see the theory this author is putting through.

  42. i love reading anything to do w/the Tudors. Edward and I share the same bday =). I have often wondered of his death. I`d love to add this to my growing collection. Thx for the chance!!!

  43. I’d love to read this book, as I’ve been obsessed with Tudor England for as long as I can remember. I’m also pleasantly surprised that I’m not the only person in the world who dislikes Jane Seymour. Thanks for the chance!

  44. I would love to own a copy of the book because I am so inretested in the history of the Tudors. I am a single mom, I work 2 jobs, and I am active in church, community and my daughters school. I raren’t have time for myself, and when I do take time for myself, usually when I’m laying in bed at night before I go to sleep, I love to read history. I’ve read literally everything available in my small towns library and all of the Tudor Wiki pages. I would love to have this book do that I can own to read again and again! Thank you for this article!

  45. I would love to read about Edward VI. We don’t know nearly enough about him, mainly because too many people see him as a stepping stone to the reign of his half-sister, Elizabeth I!

  46. I would love to know more about Edward VI. The books I’ve read that mentions him are barely more than footnotes. There are a limited number of books available here in the US on British history. Thanks for the giveaway.

  47. I am just fascinated by King Henry VIII and his wives and children and would love to know more about Edward. I also have not thought much about him because he wasn’t with us for too long but my image of him was that he was sweet and thoughtful and probably would have made a great King! I am very excited to read this book.

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