Friday, April 04, 2008

Question from Joyce - Edward VI's death and burial

I have read that Edward V1's death was concealed by John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland so that he could first apprehend the Lady Mary. As it was July the body began to stink and he was forced to substitute another corpse for the funeral in Westminster Abbey. Does anyone know if this is true?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you read this? Although Edward's death was kept quiet for a couple of days I would be surprised if the body was not actually Edward's.


April 04, 2008 5:36 PM  
Anonymous PhD Historian said...

It simply is not true. Edward died on 6 July 1553. His death was concealed from many of those in government until 9 July and from the public until 10 July. The concealment was not done in order to give Dudley time to apprehend Mary. Rather, the death was kept secret until Edward's heir under his own last will and letters patent, Jane Grey Dudley, could be informed of her accession and moved from Richmond to London. Such delays were common enough, Edward himself having remained unaware of the death of his father, Henry VIII, until two days after the event. Edward's funeral did not take place until early August, largely because of the problems associated with Mary's accession and her lengthy delay in coming to London (she was proclaimed queen on 19 July but did not arrive in London until the first week of August). There was also a question of the ritual form of the funeral. Should it follow Edward's religon, Protestantism, and his new Book of Common Prayer (1552) or should it follow the rituals of the new queen's church, traditional Roman Catholicism? The decision was Mary's alone to make, and she did not make it until August. In the interim, Edward's body had been sealed inside a coffin entirely lined with a thin sheet of lead, which could be soldered shut and prevent odors from escaping. This too was common practice for the wealthy in that era.

April 04, 2008 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

phd historian,

What was the outcome; was it a Catholic or Protestant funeral?

April 08, 2008 9:52 AM  
Anonymous PhD Historian said...

Mary allowed the actual burial, which was private, to be conducted using the Protestant Book of Common Prayer. But Mary had public Roman Catholic requiem masses said for Edward. There was no "state funeral" in the modern sense.

April 08, 2008 6:10 PM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

Wow-I did not realize that Edward VI named Jane Grey as his successor. Where can I find this information? Book, on line..?

April 14, 2008 10:05 AM  
Anonymous PhD Historian said...

If I may be so bold, have a look at my own website,, under the Bibliography section. There are numerous books listed there, each of which discusses Edward's "Devise for the Succession" in greater or lesser detail. And watch for my own biography of Jane Grey, due in 2009, in which I cast the whole succession issue in a new light.

April 14, 2008 7:36 PM  
Blogger Lilibet said...

PhD Historian,

I shall certainly be looking for your biography of Jane Grey!
I ready anything I can get my hands on about her.

I'm really enjoying reading your responses to all the questions!
They really have inspired me to further my education in history.
So I think it will be a joy to read your book!

Congratulations and best of luck!


June 19, 2008 11:17 AM  

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