10 things you might not know about Edward VI

by Kyra Kramer

Chapter 5 : Intellectual Prowess

Fact 5: Edward was amazingly smart

It doesn’t get mentioned as often, but Edward was just as much a polymath as his father and his sisters. Like Mary and Elizabeth, his education started early and his progress beyond exceptional:

Edward had always been a prodigy, astounding his tutors with his mental acuity. He spoke French, Spanish, and Italian, but was so superlatively skilled in Latin that when he met the French ambassador in 1548, they conversed in that scholarly tongue because Edward was more fluent in it than in French. The king was also adept at reading and writing Greek, studying Aristotle and other ancient philosophers in their original language.  Edward also excelled in his studies of geometry, astronomy, music, riding, archery, religion, geography, cartography, warfare, and economics.

It really is a shame that Edward’s early death has elided his brilliance. People tend to think of him as a short-lived stop-gap between Henry VIII’s reign and that of Mary I, but the young king was a genius and an able ruler who deserves more recognition than he receives.