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De facto Act

De facto Act, 1495. The name is misleading since the statute, 11 Hen. VII c. 1, does not appear, contrary to much commentary, to distinguish between kings de facto and kings de jure. Henry VII, victorious at Bosworth, faced a series of challenges to his throne. To buttress his position, this statute declared that a person performing his duty to the king could be ‘in no wise convict of high treason’ and that any subsequent legislation to the contrary would be null and void. Whether an Act which could be repealed by a future Parliament gave comfort to anyone may be doubted. Perpetual edicts have often had a short life.

J. A. Cannon

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