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England: Royal Styles: 1553-1558

Supreme Head of the Church of England and Ireland

The Act of Supremacy ("An Act concerning the King's Highness to be supreme head of the Church of England and to have authority to reform and redress all errors heresies and abuses in the same," 26 Henry VIII c.1), passed by the Parliament on 3 Nov 1534, conferred on King Henry VIII the title of supreme head of the Church of England, nullifying the Pope's authority in England and giving the king the right to reform the church and to judge heresies.

Be it enacted by authority of this present Parliament that the King our sovereign lord, his heirs and successors kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted and reputed the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia, and shall have and enjoy annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm as well the title and style thereof, as all honours, dignities, preeminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits and commodities, to the said dignity of supreme head of the same Church belonging and appertaining.

Henry VIII formally adopted the new style in the presence of the leading officers of state on 15 Jan 1535. It was followed by the Act of Supremacy ("An Act authorising the King, his Heirs and Successors, to be Supreme Head of the Church of Ireland," 28 Henry VIII c.5) passed by the Irish Parliament between 13 Oct 1536 and 20 Dec 1536.

Like as the King's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be supreme head of the Church of England, and so is recognised by the clergy, and authorised by an Act of Parliament made and established in the same Realm: so in like manner of wise, forasmuch as this land of Ireland is depending and belonging justly and rightfully to the imperial Crown of England, ... be it enacted by authority of this present Parliament, that the King our sovereign lord, and his heirs and successors, Kings of the said Realm of England, and Lords of this said land of Ireland, shall be accepted, taken, and reputed the only supreme head in earth of the whole Church of Ireland ... and shall have and enjoy, annexed and united to the imperial Crown of England, as well the title and style thereof, ...

Thus Henry VIII and his heirs were authorized to use the royal style, which included the phrase "... and in the earth supreme head of the Chruch of England and (also) of Ireland".

When Queen Mary I acceded to the throne on 19 Jul 1553, she was proclaimed under the same style as her predecessors ("Queen of England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, and in the earth supreme head of the Church of England and Ireland"). However, she was determined to restore the papal supremacy and to repeal her father's religious acts. The reference to "supreme head" was also included in the style and title prefixed to the parliament record for 1 Mary session 2 (24 Oct 1553 - 6 Dec 1553). Later it was omitted on Mary's decision, without parliamentary approval, in the style and title prefixed to the parliament record for 1 May session 3 (2 Apr 1554 - 5 May 1554), and presumably remained omitted in all documents up to her marriage — and proclamation of her joint style and title with Philip of Spain — on 25 Jul 1554.

On 16 Jan 1555, Philip and Mary gave their Royal Assent to An Act, repealing all Statutes, Articles, and Provisions, made against the See of Rome, sithence the 20th Year of King Henry the Eighth; and for the Establishment of Ecclesiastical Possessions conveyed to the Laity (1 & 2 Philip & Mary c.8).

The said Act was intended to achieve at least three ends:

  1. To repeal the Act 35 Henry VIII c.3 that made the supremacy phrase statutory.
  2. To declare that the supremacy phrase was a nullity in any event, but that its presence in documents preceding this act was not to be a bar to their validity nor a cause against any person for its use.
  3. To acknowledge that Mary, guided by her Christian conscience, did omit the supremacy phrase in documents without statutory authority to do so, and to declare that that omission would also not invalidate any documents for this statutory infraction, nor give a cause against any person for this omission.

The enactment of this statute thus dates the legal abolition of the supremacy phrase; but its earlier omission should be also recognized.

Joint Style of Philip and Mary

The marriage of Philip and Mary took place at Winchester on 25 Jul 1554. It was at the banquet held that evening that the heralds proclaimed the new Royal Style and Titles:

By the grace of God King and Queen of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem, and Ireland; Defenders of the Faith; Princes of Spain and Sicily; Archdukes of Austria; Dukes of Milan, Burgundy, and Brabant; Counts of Hapsburg, Flanders, and Tyrol
Dei Gratia Rex et Regina Anglie, Francie, Neapolis, Ierusalem, et Hibernie; Fidei Defensores; Principes Hispanie et Sicilie; Archiduces Austrie; Duces Mediolani, Burgundie, et Brabancie; Comites Haspurgi, Flandrie, et Tirolis

This style was not explicitly enacted by Parliament, but it had earlier approved the marriage treaty (An Act, touching the Articles of the Queen's Highness's most Noble Marriage, assented to 5 May 1554), which provided that Philip will "be allowed to have and enjoy jointly together with the same most noble Queen his wife the style, honor, and kingly name of the realms and dominions unto the said most noble Queen appertaining."

Philip succeeded to the duchy of Burgundy in October 1555 and became king of the Spanish realms and of (the other) Sicily on 16 Jan 1556 by virtue of several acts of abdication by his father King Carlos I (Kaiser/emperor Karl V). Apparently, the changes in the royal styles and titles resulting from this succession were not enacted by an act of Parliament, but it was documented as prefixed to the parliament record for 4&5 Philip & Mary, as follows:

By the Grace of God King and Queen of England, Spain, France, Jerusalem, both the Sicilies and Ireland; Defenders of the Faith; Archdukes of Austria; Dukes of Burgundy, Milan and Brabant; Count(ie)s of Hapsburg, Flanders and Tyrol
Dei gracia rex et regina Anglie Hispaniarum Francie utriusque Sicilie Ierusalem et Hibernie fidei defensores archiduces Austrie duces Burgundie Mediolani et Brabancie comites Haspurgi Flandrie et Tirolis

 


[1] "Tudor Royal Proclamations", compiled by Paul L. Hughes and James F. Larkin, 3 volumes (Yale University Press, 1964-1969).

This page was last updated on: 13 Mar 2010 01:47:21

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