December 28, 1547, King Henry VIII of England died, leaving his son Edward to take his place. But Edward was still a boy and let's face it...those were big shoes to fill. Henry knew it. Instead of naming one regent to guide his son until maturity, he named a whole council. His goal was to create a balanced council full of both conservative and progressive voices to help advise his son. But that's not how it worked out.
A portrait of Edward VI by William Scrots. Done around 1550.
The council was quickly monopolized by the dominant personality of the Duke of Somerset, King Edward's uncle by his mother. But that dominant personality was replaced by a second dominant personality, the Duke of Northumberland, who eventually had his successer killed by order of the king. Yes, the king signed the death warrant for his uncle (as he had done previously for his other uncle). Ah...the Tudors.
Although a boy, and despite the turmoil of his "balanced" council, Edward proved unwavering on the matter of religion. His father had split with the Church of Rome, but his religious beliefs had remained conservative and mostly Catholic. Edward, however, was Protestant, and it was under his reign that England became a Protestant country. With the help of his archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, Edward established the Church of England much as it exists today.