Hello Claire, I am here to ask another what if question. I was wondering recently (after reading Weir’s Children of Henry VIII) how do you imagine England would have faired had Edward not died so young, or if he had married and had children. Or even if he had died after Mary had, would the crown still have gone to Jane or would he have agreed to make Elizabeth his heir. Also, in your opinion, what are the best books to look at for more on Edward? thanks again!

Hi,
Interesting "what if"s! If Edward VI had lived until he was say 50 then he would have died in 1587/1588 and would have outlived Mary so there would have been no Mary I and no reverting back to Catholicism, particularly as England would have been Protestant for so long. He would also have married and hopefully have produced a surviving male heir who would have inherited the throne and carried on the Tudor dynasty and Protestantism.

If he died young, but after Mary, then it's hard to say whether he would have chosen Lady Jane Grey or Elizabeth as his successor. It would depend on his relationship with Elizabeth during the time leading up to his death and his relationship with Jane's family and the Dudleys. An unknown!

Chris Skidmore has written a book on Edward VI - "Edward VI: The Lost King of England".

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2 thoughts on “Hello Claire, I am here to ask another what if question. I was wondering recently (after reading Weir’s Children of Henry VIII) how do you imagine England would have faired had Edward not died so young, or if he had married and had children. Or even if he had died after Mary had, would the crown still have gone to Jane or would he have agreed to make Elizabeth his heir. Also, in your opinion, what are the best books to look at for more on Edward? thanks again!”

  1. THOMAS says:

    Skidmore’s book on Edward VI is very good; even though he’s awfully fond of the word “whilst”.

  2. THOMAS says:

    Some very good points.

    Edward VI was a first cousin, once-removed from both Mary, Queen of Scots (through Henry VIII’s elder sister, Margaret, Queen of Scotland); and Jane Gray (through Henry VIII’s younger sister, Mary Brandon, Duchess of Suffolk).

    Mary, Queen of Scots, had the blood-line, through primogeniture, even over Mary I and Elizabeth, if their bastardy had been upheld. The terrible conflict between Mary of Scotland and Elizabeth I is based on this blood-line. True, religion got blamed for the choices made, but maintaining power was at the foundation of the conflict.

    Henry VIII even suggested that Edward marry Mary of Scotland (There were five years separating their ages.) I don’t recall any the suggestion that Henry wanted Edward to marry into the Grays. Same degree of consanguinity, but Henry didn’t trust all of his “new men”. The Grays were also a part of the House of York, which Henry did his level best to discredit or annihilate (the Staffords and the Poles).

    Such speculation about history is a good mental exercise in that it can provoke serious study. Still, as I believe Thomas Aquinas said: “You can’t ask dead men questions.” We’ll have to live with the mystery of what might have been.

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