The peaceful succession of Prince Edward was Henry VIII's primary concern in his last years. In 1543, the same year Henry married Katherine Parr, Parliament passed the Succession Act which named Edward, Princess Mary, and Princess Elizabeth, in that order, the heirs to the throne. Along with the succession, however, came the problem of faction among the king's ministers, the most prominent of which, at Henry's death, would jockey for influence over young Edward. In the early 1540s, the Privy Council was divided into two main factions: a conservative one led by the Duke of Norfolk and the Bishop of Winchester, Stephen Gardiner, and another more sympathetic to Protestantism, headed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, and Edward Seymour, Prince Edward's uncle. Although Henry was very cruel toward Protestants, he remained close to Archbishop
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