Sunday, 21 June 2015
MiniHistoryBlogs: Letter Patent and the Devise for the Succession of King Edward VI
The letter patent was signed this day, the 21 June 1553, concerning the Devise for the Succession of King Edward VI
The Third Act of Succession passed by Henry VIII in 1544 declared his son Edward was to be succeeded by Mary, daughter of Catherine of Aragon and her children followed by Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Bolelyn and her children.
In 1553 Edward was found to be suffering from Tuberculosis and was quite ill and it soon became apparent that the English Reformation would be at rick if the devoutly Catholic princess Mary should come to the throne. The Devise for the Succession was, as we see, drafted in case of, as Edward wrote
....... "lack of issue of my body" and for the succession of male heirs only, that is, through that of Jane Grey's mother Francis Grey, Jane or her sisters'.
The Duke of Northumberland, John Dudley, may have persuaded Edward that it was in the countries interest to declare his daughter in law Lady Jane Grey as his heir. As you can see Edward has altered "L Janes heires masles" to "L Jane AND her heires masles".
It was signed by 102 of the important members of the court although many of them claimed that their hand was forced Northumberland.
After Edward's death in 1553 Jane Grey became queen for only nine day after which she, along with her husband, Guilford Dudley were tried for high treason in November 1553 and executed the following February.
The Devise for the Succession can be seen below.
For a more in depth explanation of the succession document itself take a look at the following.