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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits
in Europe

Henry VIII

Diameter: 54.000 mm

CM M6802

Henry VIII as Head of the Church

From: London, England
Date: AD 1545

Henry wanted to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry Anne Boleyn, whom he was in love with. But the pope would not let him.

To get round this Henry passed a law saying he himself was the new head of the church, and not the pope. This meant he could do what he wanted and marry Anne. The pope was naturally furious and excommunicated Henry, meaning that he was no longer part of the church. But Henry thought that it was worth it.

This gold medal was made by Henry to show his new power. He wears his royal robes and the writing says he is 'the supreme head on earth of the Church in England and Ireland'.