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Henry VIII in Parliament
Henry VIII in Parliament, 1523.


THE THIRD ACT OF SUCCESSION, A.D. 1544.

35 HENRY VIII, CAP. 1. 3 S. R. 955.


Act Fixing the Succession

WHERE in the parliament held at Westminster the eighth day of June in the twenty-eighth year of the reign of our most dread sovereign lord King Henry the Eighth an act was had and made for the establishment of the succession of the imperial crown of this realm of England, by which act among divers other things it was enacted, that the imperial crown of this realm with all dignities, honours, preeminences, prerogatives, authorities and jurisdictions to the same annexed or belonging should be to the king's majesty and his heirs of his body lawfully begotten, that is to say, to the first son of his body between His Highness and his then lawful wife Queen Jane, now deceased, begotten, and to the heirs of the body of the same first son lawfully begotten, and for default of such heirs, then to the second son of His Highness' body and of the body of the said Queen Jane begotten, and to the heirs of the body of the same second son begotten, with divers other limitations of the estates, conveyance and remainders of the said imperial crown and other the premises: and it was also enacted further by the said statute, that for lack of issue of our said sovereign lord the king's body lawfully begotten, that then His Highness should and might give, will, limit, assign, appoint or dispose the said imperial crown and other the premises to what person or persons, and give the same person or persons such estate in the same, as it should please His Majesty by his gracious letters patents under the great seal, or by his last will in writing signed with his most gracious hand; as by the same act among divers other things therein contained more at large it doth appear: since the making of which act, the king's majesty hath one only issue of his body lawfully begotten betwixt His Highness and his said late wife Queen Jane, the noble and excellent prince, Prince Edward, whom Almighty God long preserve; and also His Majesty hath now of late, since the death of the said Queen Jane, taken to his wife the most virtuous and gracious Lady Katherine, now queen of England, late wife of John Neville, knight, Lord Latimer deceased, by whom as yet His Majesty hath none issue, but may have full well when it shall please God; and forasmuch as our said most dread sovereign lord the king, upon good and just grounds and causes, intendeth by God's grace to make a voyage royal in His Majesty's most royal person into the realm of France, against his ancient enemy the French king; His Highness most prudently and wisely considering and calling to his remembrance how this realm standeth at this present time in the case of succession, and poising and weighing further with himself the great trust and confidence that his loving subjects have had and have in him, putting in his hands wholly the order and declaration of the succession of this realm; recognizing and acknowledging also that it is in the only pleasure and will of Almighty God how long His Highness or his said entirely beloved son, Prince Edward, shall live, and whether the said prince shall have heirs of his body lawfully begotten or not, or whether His Highness shall have heirs begotten and procreated between His Majesty and his said most dear and entirely beloved wife Queen Katherine that now is, or any lawful heirs and issues hereafter of his own body begotten by any other his lawful wife; and albeit that the king's most excellent majesty, for default of such heirs as be inheritable by the said act, might by the authority of the said act, give and dispose the said imperial crown and other the premises by his letters patents under his great seal, or by his last will in writing signed with his most gracious hand, to any person or persons of such estate therein as should please His Highness to limit and appoint; yet to the intent that His Majesty's disposition and mind therein should be openly declared and manifestly known and notified, as well to the lords spiritual and temporal as to all other his loving and obedient subjects of this his realm, to the intent that their assent and consent might appear to concur with thus far as followeth of His Majesty's declaration in this behalf; His Majesty therefore thinketh convenient afore his departure beyond the seas, that it be enacted by His Highness with the assent of the lords spiritual and temporal and the commons in this present parliament assembled and by authority of the same, and therefore be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that in case it shall happen the king's majesty and the said excellent prince his yet only son Prince Edward and heir apparent, to decease without heir of either of their bodies lawfully begotten (as God defend) so that there be no such heir male or female of any of their two bodies, to have and inherit the said imperial crown and other his dominions, according and in such manner and form as in the aforesaid act and now in this is declared, that then the said imperial crown and all other the premises shall be to the Lady Mary, the king's Highness' daughter, and to the heirs of the body of the same Lady Mary lawfully begotten, with such conditions as by His Highness shall be limited by his letters patents under his great seal, or by His Majesty's last will in writing signed with his gracious hand; and for default of such issue the said imperial crown and other the premises shall be to the Lady Elizabeth, the king's second daughter, and to the heirs of the body of the said Lady Elizabeth lawfully begotten, with such conditions as by His Highness shall be limited by his letters patents under his great seal, or by His Majesty's last will in writing signed with his gracious hand; anything in the said act made in the said twenty-eighth year of our said sovereign lord to the contrary of this act notwithstanding.

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      IV. Provided alway, that if the said Lady Mary do not keep and perform such conditions as shall be limited and appointed to her said estate in the said imperial crown and other the premises as is aforesaid, and the said Lady Elizabeth being then dead without any heir of her body lawfully begotten, that then and from thenceforth for lack of heirs of the several bodies of the king's majesty and the said lord prince lawfully begotten, the said imperial crown and other the premises shall be, come and remain to such person and persons and of such estate and estates as the king's highness by his letters patents sealed under his great seal, or by his last will in writing signed with His Majesty's hand shall limit and appoint.

      V. Provided always and be it enacted by authority aforesaid, that in case the king's majesty do not declare and limit by his letters patents or by his last will in form as is aforesaid any condition to the estates and interests afore limited to the said Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth, nor to the estate or interest of any of them, that then every such of the said Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth, to whose estate or interest no condition shall be limited by the king's majesty in form aforesaid, shall have and enjoy such interest, estate and remainder in the said imperial crown and other the premises as is before limited by this act, without any manner of condition; anything in this present act to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

      VI. And forasmuch as it standeth in the only pleasure and will of Almighty God, whether the king's majesty shall have any heirs begotten and procreated between His Highness and his said most entirely beloved wife Queen Katherine, or by any other his lawful wife, or whether the said Prince Edward shall have issue of his body lawfully begotten, or whether the Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth or any of them shall have any issue of any of their several bodies lawfully begotten, and if such heirs should fail (which God defend) and no provision made in the king's life who should rule and govern this realm for lack of such heirs as in this present act is afore mentioned, that then this realm after the king's transitory life and for lack of such heirs, should be destitute of a lawful governor to order, rule and govern the same; be it therefore enacted by the authority of this present parliament, that the king's Highness shall have full power and authority to give, dispose, appoint, assign, declare and limit, by his gracious letters patents under his great seal, or else by His Highness' last will made in writing and signed with his most gracious hand, at his only pleasure from time to time hereafter, the imperial crown of this realm and all other the premises, to be, remain, succeed and come, after his decease and for lack of lawful heirs of either of the bodies of the king's Highness and Prince Edward begotten, and also for lack of lawful heirs of the bodies of the said Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth to be procreated and begotten as is afore limited in this act, to such person or persons in remainder or reversion as shall please His Highness, and according to such estate and after such manner and form, fashion, order or condition as shall be expressed, declared, named and limited in His Highness' letters patents, or by his last will in writing signed with his most gracious hand as is afore said; anything contained in this present act or in the said former act to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.





Source:

Select Documents of English Constitutional History.
G. B. Adams and H. M. Stephens, Eds.
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1914. 264-7.





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Images:

Chart of the English Succession from William I through Henry VII

Medieval English Drama

London c1480, MS Royal 16
London, 1510, the earliest view in print
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Location Map of Elizabethan London
Plan of the Bankside, Southwark, in Shakespeare's time
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Westminster in the Seventeenth Century, by Hollar
Visscher's Panoramic View of London, 1616. COLOR
c. 1690. View of London Churches, after the Great Fire
The Yard of the Tabard Inn from Thornbury, Old and New London




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