Second Succession Act
|Chapter||28 Henry VIII c.7|
|Territorial extent||Kingdom of England|
|Royal Assent||June 1536|
|Repeal date||July 1543|
|Repealing legislation||Third Succession Act|
The Second Succession Act of Henry VIII's reign was passed by the Parliament of England in June 1536, removing both Mary and Elizabeth from the line of the succession. The Act was formally titled "An Act concerning the Succession of the Crown". It is also known as the Succession to the Crown: Marriage Act 1536 (citation 28 Henry VIII c.7), or as the Act of Succession 1536. The Act followed the conviction and execution of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother, and superseded the First Succession Act, which had declared Henry's daughter Mary to be illegitimate and Elizabeth to be his legitimate heir. The new Act now declared Elizabeth to be a bastard also. As a result, Henry was left without any legitimate child to inherit the throne until his son Prince Edward was born in October 1537.
The succession was subsequently changed by the Third Succession Act (1543), which returned both Mary and Elizabeth to the line of succession.
Because Henry had no legitimate offspring when the Act was passed, section 18 of it gave Henry "full and plenary power and authority" to choose who would succeed him if he died without an heir of his body, by naming his successor in letters patent or in his last Will. The Act created several offences of high treason connected with interrupting the succession to the throne of any person so chosen, or with saying that Henry's first two marriages (to the mothers of Mary and Elizabeth) had been valid or that his third marriage (to Jane Seymour) was invalid, or with saying that Mary and Elizabeth were legitimate or that Edward was not. The Act also required some of Henry's subjects to take an oath to uphold the Act, and made it treason to refuse to take the oath. Sanctuary was not available for people accused of treason under the Act, and—in addition to the death penalty—anyone convicted of treason by interrupting the succession to the throne was to forfeit their own claim to the throne (if any).
Finally, the Act made it treason to attempt to repeal the Act. This did not prevent Henry himself from obtaining the repeal of the Act seven years later, by way of the Third Succession Act, which returned his two daughters into the line of succession to the throne.
- First Succession Act (Succession to the Crown Act 1533)
- Act Respecting the Oath to the Succession (Succession to the Crown Act 1534)
- Third Succession Act (Succession to the Crown Act 1543)
- Line of succession to the British throne
- Alternative successions of the English crown
- Section 20
- Section 21
- Sections 24 and 25
- Section 22