REIGNED: the last king in the male line of the house of Tudor. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father early in 1547. On his accession, his maternal uncle, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, was named Lord Protector and duke of Somerset. In 1549 Somerset's attempt to help poor peasants by forbidding enclosure was thwarted by rich landowners, with the result that the peasants revolted. The opportunity was used by John Dudley, later duke of Northumberland, to remove Somerset from power. Edward was thereafter virtually controlled by Dudley, who in 1552 persuaded him to have Somerset executed for treason.
The king became seriously ill of tuberculosis the year after. Shortly before Edward's death, Dudley induced him to sign a will depriving his half sisters, who later ruled as Mary I and Elizabeth I, of their claim to the royal succession. The right of succession then fell to Lady Jane Grey, who had married Dudley's son, but she was deposed by Mary a few days later.