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Henry VIII becomes Head of Church in England,

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History on 15th January


Elizabeth I crowned

Henry VIII becomes Head of Church in England,

The 15th of January 1535 AD

Henry VIII’s desire for an unchallenged heir and his lust for Anne Boleyn pushed England inexorably away from papal authority. He had an illegitimate son Henry FitzRoy Duke of Richmond, and his daughter Mary with Catherine of Aragon , but worried that Mary’s legitimacy could be doubted given Catherine’s previous marriage to his brother Arthur.
When the pope refused to cooperate over the annulment of Henry’s marriage to Catherine Cardinal Wolsey fell from grace and the union was nullified anyway. The church, and papal power, became a threat, dealt with by various acts of Parliament new and old. First the clergy were held to ransom, accused of treason under the 14th century praemunire acts; then Thomas Cromwell rapidly steered through Parliament The Act in Restraint of Appeals, preventing clerical appeals to Rome; and the in 1533 The Appointment of Bishops Act, putting that task in regal hands. The following year The Acts of Supremacy removed any doubts about the break with Rome. On January 15 1535 Henry’s style changed to Henry the Eighth , by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland and of the Church of England in Earth Supreme Head. He remained anti-Protestant in terms of doctrine, but politically England would be drawn towards Protestant allies - ‘my enemy’s enemy’ - opening the doors to future religious evolution.

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