Sunday, 10 February 2013

Diary of a Boy King

Edward VI had been brought up as Henry VIII's greatest pride and joy, the heir to the Tudor-dynasty. With such a formal upbringing it is no wonder that the boy developed a different relationship to the official state affairs.
The document to the right is from Edward VI's journal and describes his becoming King of England - in third-person narrative.

In the journal Edward VI states that he was with his sister Elizabeth when they were told about their father's death by Edward's uncle, Lord Edward Seymour, while they were staying at Elizabeth's Enfield residence on January 30th 1547. Edward writes that the death of Henry VIII caused great grief in London but the young King reveals nothing of his own feelings - something he never really did.

The new Tudor-king goes on to describe how the officers that formerly served his father, broke their staffs of office and threw them into Henry VIII's grave during his funeral. It is likely that Edward did not attend his father's funeral himself since he was now King and Kings never attended funerals - Henry VIII had not attended the funeral of his sister Margaret - because it was treason to imagine the King's death.

When you consider the strange reservation in Edward's personality it seems plausible that he started writing the diary at the request of one his tutors. The diary starts of telling about Edward's childhood till 1547 and the years from 1547 to 1549 is a more like a chronicle of past events where Edward is mentioned in third person. It is not until the end of the diary that it actually becomes more like a diary that describes day-to-day events.

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