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Tudor Survivor is the biography of the man who defined the role of courtier, but also gives valuable insight into everyday life, from etiquette and bathing, to court politics and the monarchs themselves.
The first full biography of Edward Seymour, kinsman of Tudor royalty, from Lord Protector of England to the block
In January 1547 Henry VIII lay dying. His heir was just 9 years old and all England waited expectantly to see who would hold the reins of power until Edward VI came of age. Within days of Henry's death, the privy council overturned the terms of his will and Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset was named Lord Protector. It was a decision that the men in power would come to regret. For nearly three years, Somerset was 'king in all but name', the most powerful man in England. But though he was a skilled soldier and leader on the battlefield, Somerset's political skills were not so well-honed. His single-mindedness and his overbearing attitude towards the privy Councillors alienated the very men whose support he most needed. When they lost patience with him, the scene was set for conflict. Despite energetic opposition, his religious reform was his greatest success and the establishment of the Book of Common Prayer, which laid the foundation of the Anglican Church, was to be his most enduring achievement. However, his efforts to lessen the authoritarian rule imposed by Henry VIII and to improve the well-being of the common folk led to widespread rebellion, and as his attempt to subdue the Scots failed, England faced war with France. To the people Edward Seymour was the 'Good Duke'. To his fellow Councillors he was a traitor. This is a story of Tudor ambition, power and the ultimate price of failure.
William Paulet is the exemplar of the successful Tudor courtier. For an astonishing 46 years he served at the courts of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth and was one of the men responsible for introducing changes in religious, economic and social issues which shaped England as we know it today. He was a judge at the trials of Fisher and More and a central figure in the intrigues of the succession crisis following Edward VI's reign. Though born a commoner, by his death he was the senior peer in England and, as Lord High Treasurer, held one of the most influential positions at court. Paulet survived a bloody half-century of Tudor politics by making himself indispensable, satisfying the demands of four very different monarchs, while still maintaining his own principles. He watched former friends go to the block whilst he weathered the storms of a changing England. Bringing together the separate strands of biographical study and social history, this book offers a fascinating insight not only into Paulet's long and varied career within the royal household and in government but also, through the innovative use of descriptive scenes, into the many routines and rituals that shaped the everyday life of a Tudor courtier. In Tudor Survivor, Margaret Scard paints a captivating portrait of a great man who for many years held the purse strings of England, and both witnessed and was instrumental in the greatest events of the period. From the Siege of Boulogne to the execution of two queens, the Reformation and the beginnings of Elizabeth's Golden Age, Paulet was there, and the story of his fascinating life reveals the nature of life at the Tudor court set against the politics of the age.