The Acts of Supremacy

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The first Act of Supremacy was introduced by Henry VIII in 1534 during his rule of England. Later, when Elizabeth I came to the throne, the second Act of Supremacy was introduced to bring back the reforms that Mary had abolished. Both of these acts have many similarities but also some fundamental differences that helped indicate the type of ruler each monarch would be. Before discussing the differences it is important to first understand how the Act of Supremacy came about. Little is known about Henry’s childhood because as the second born he was never intended to become King. When his elder brother Arthur died months after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon Henry became the heir to the throne of England. Catherine stayed in the English court after the death of her husband and was betrothed to Henry . It was many years before the two finally married. Catherine did give birth to a male heir but unfortunately the child did not survive . There were many more attempts for a male heir but in the end the only surviving child of Henry and Catherine was Mary Tudor who would later ascend to the throne in July 1553 . Because Catherine was unable to produce a surviving male heir Henry sought to get an annulment of their marriage. The pope would not grant this and so Henry created the Act of Supremacy declaring himself the ‘supreme head of the Church of England ’ in 1534. By naming himself as the supreme head of the Church, Henry no longer needed to answer to the Pope or the Roman
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