On this day in history, 17th February 1547, Edward Seymour, uncle of King Edward VI and brother of the late Queen Jane Seymour, was made Duke of Somerset. He had already been appointed to the offices of Lord Protector of the Realm and Governor of the King's Person on 1st February.
Henry VIII's will had named sixteen executors who were to form a regency council, along with twelve other advisers, until Edward VI came of age, so Edward Seymour (then Earl of Hertford) had not been appointed Lord Protector by Henry VIII. The plan was that the council would rule collectively with every member having equal power and rights. However, the will also allowed the executors to grant themselves lands and honours, so Somerset took advantage of this and made himself Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of his nephew's council, with the agreement of 13 out of the 16 executors. Somerset then went on to rule by proclamation, making all of the decisions himself.
Notes and Sources
- Ridgway, Claire (2012) On This Day in Tudor History, MadeGlobal Publishing.
- Beer, Barrett L.. “Seymour, Edward, duke of Somerset (c.1500–1552).” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed., edited by Lawrence Goldman, January 2009.