Picture of the week 10

Henry VIII Coronation Oath (with notes by Henry himself)

On acceding to the throne, monarchs were crowned in a magnificent and elaborate ceremony in which the new king swore to defend the Church. Here the unmistakable hand of Henry has made several significant revisions to the oath.

Instead of swearing to maintain the rights and liberties of ‘holy churche’, he would swear to maintain those of ‘the holy church of England’, adding the crucial qualification, ‘nott preuto hys Iurysdyction and dignite ryall’. Walter Ullmann, a historian of medieval political thought, argued that these revisions anticipated the break with Rome.

However, there is nothing to confirm that this altered version of the oath was used in 1509, nor at the coronation of his son, Edward VI, in 1547. It is most likely that the revisions were made at the same time as the break with Rome, in the 1530s, and were taken no further. Nonetheless, they remain highly revealing about how Henry saw his Royal Supremacy over the Church.


Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

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