Lucy Wooding

The Hope of the Realm

Edward VI: The Lost King of England

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 346pp £20 order from our bookshop

Rarely can a son have been more longed for than the future Edward VI, born on 12 October 1537 to a father who had been waiting twenty-seven years for a legitimate son and heir. Henry VIII had moved heaven and earth to ensure that his dynasty would continue, renouncing the authority of the Pope, taking control of the English Church, rewriting the rules of kingship and the laws of succession and treason to safeguard his third marriage, and his only son. The birth of Edward seemed more than just a lucky chance; for Henry, it was the divine seal of approval on his bold innovations, a vindication of policies that many thought brutal, unlawful, and misguided. Yet, as this book makes clear, the ambitions and pretensions of Tudor kingship were constantly at the mercy of human frailty. Henry VIII died leaving his son to inherit at only nine years old, and Edward himself was to die, slowly and painfully, a teenager on the brink of adulthood and power, just six years later.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,
    • ‘Look,’ says Trump. ‘The fact is I’m only human.’ On the evidence of this book that point is debatable. From the A… ,
    • From our December/January issue - here's John Banville's review of Colm Tóibín on the fathers of Wilde, Yeats and J… ,
    • Hi , we would love to review 'Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar' in our next issue! Please could you get in… ,