This Month in History

Henry VIII by Hans Holbein

Henry VIII receives title of “Defender of the Faith”

11 October 1521


Henry VIII wrote his book Defence of the Seven Sacraments over a number of years in answer to Martin Luther and his 95 thesis against indulgencies and ill practice within the Catholic Church. It was extremely popular and went through twenty editions throughout the Sixteenth Century.

The Book was dedicated to Pope Leo X, who rewarded Henry with the title of Fidei Defensor (Defender of the Faith). This was officially added to the King’s full royal title, making him “Henry the Eighth, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith and Lord of Ireland”.

When Henry broke from the Church in Rome in the 1530s, he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church and his title was revoked. However it was reinstated to Edward VI by the English Parliament and is has been held by all monarchs up to the modern day.


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