10 things you might not know about Edward VI

by Kyra Kramer

Chapter 2 : Rivalries

Fact 2: The main players in Edward’s baptism would start slaughtering each other a few years later in a power feeding-frenzy that makes the Game of Thrones look as tame as the conflict in Green Eggs and Ham

It wasn’t just the Courtenay family who would find it “unlucky” to have participated in Edward’s baptism. Sir Nicholas Carew, who carried a towel to dry Prince Edward’s little scalp, was beheaded for “conspiring” with Henry Courtenay, as was Henry Pole (Lord Montagu), who had carried holy water for the baby. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who was both the priest performing the office of baptism and one of Edward’s godfathers, was burned alive by one of Edward’s godmothers, Mary Tudor. One of the baby’s other godfathers, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, would be imprisoned and come within a whisker of losing his head. Howard’s son, Earl of Surrey was actually executed. 

Theoretically, Henry VIII ordered the Howards’ arrest and Surrey’s legal murder, but there is significant historical evidence that the baby’s maternal uncle, Edward Seymour, was really behind the Howards’ downfall. Thomas Cromwell was in the baptismal procession, and he would get the chop on Henry VIII’s orders before little Prince Edward turned four years old. Anne Boleyn’s father, who had lost ⅔ of his children to Henry VIII’s irrational wrath, had to carry a candle at the ceremony. The infant prince’s maternal uncle, Edward Seymour, would be beheaded for treason during his nephew, Edward VI’s, reign.