Act of Supremacy

1534. This piece of legislation passed by the English Parliament during the reign of Henry VIII* declared the king to be “the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England.” Although it was repealed during the reign of the Roman Catholic queen Mary Tudor,* it was restored under Elizabeth I* in 1559, except that the reference now was to “supreme governor.” This is the basis on which diocesan bishops are still appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister.