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Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, (~1506 - 1552) was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of King Henry VIII in 1547 and Seymour's indictment in 1549. He was born in about 1506, the eldest brother of Jane Seymour, who would become King Henry's third queen. Their brother, Thomas, also gained power through their sister's advancement.

When Jane married the king in 1536, Edward was created Viscount Beauchamp and 1st Earl of Hertford. He became Warden of the Scottish Marches and continued in favoiur after his sister's death in 1537. He retained great influence over the boy king Edward VI, in whose name he ruled the country. Following his victory over the Scots at the Battle of Pinkie, his position appeared unassailable. However, the Seymour brothers had accumulated enemies and grudges during their time in royal favour, and, shortly after his brother Thomas's downfall, Edward, too, fell from power. His position was taken by John Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and Thomas was executed for treason in 1552.

Edward's son, Edward Seymour (1539-1621), 2nd Earl of Hertford, was the Duke of Somerset's son by his second wife. He regained his father's lost earldom in 1559, from Queen Elizabeth I, but lost it again shortly afterwards, for secretly marrying Lady Catherine Grey, sister of Lady Jane Grey. His penalty was a long term of imprisonment. His son was Edward Seymour (1561-1612), 3rd Earl of Hertford, whose son William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset, was imprisoned for secretly marrying Arbella Stuart.

Preceded by:
New Creation
Duke of Somerset Followed by:
William Seymour