In Chapter 15, and beyond, in The Prince and the Pauper, Lord Hertford earns a specific title. This role allows him to be a personal advisor to Edward (actually Tom) for a good part of the story. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about the role of….
Keep reading or watch the video below to learn about the historical context of this role!
Shortly after Henry VIII dies, we find out that Lord Hertford is going to be given the title of Lord Protector, as seen in the quote below.
“…on that day, too, Hertford would be formally chosen to the grand office of Lord Protector…” (p. 86-87)
What is a whipping boy?
The Lord Protector was originally used as a title for a person temporarily taking the place of a monarch if they were still a minor. In this role, they would basically act in the role of the king in all things but name. As seen in The Prince and the Pauper, a young king would not always know what to do or say in all situations relation to his kingdom, so an older expert would be extremely important in order to keep the kingdom running smoothly.
Did Edward VI have a Lord Protector in real life?
Yes! Edward Seymour, the first Duke of Somerset (also known as the earl of Hertford) was Edward’s Lord Protector. In the story he is mostly just referred to as Lord Hertford. His sister, Jane Seymour, was Henry VIII’s third wife and Edward’s mother.
He ended up being Lord Protector from 1547 to 1549. However, he was not great at his job. He was unpopular with many people. Ultimately in 1551, he was charged with treason, imprisoned, and was executed.
How the Role Changed
Probably the most well-known Lord Protector was Oliver Cromwell. His official title was the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He was the head of state during the commonwealth. This was a period of time where England was a part of a Republic, not a monarchy.
This period of time is known as “The Protectorate” or sometimes “The Interregnum”. Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 and his son took over as Lord Protector for a short time. The monarchy was then restored in 1660.
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