Fidei Defensor
Part 1 of: Several Myfteries and Legends Concerning the British Monetary Syftem

Fidei Defensor, literally Defender of the Faith, is an inscription which is found on most British coinage, and has been since the title was awarded to the regent in 1521, because…

Well, in 1509, Henry VIII succeeded his father, Henry VII, to the throne. His reign was to prove quite colourful, not in the least part due to his extremely stubborn will. Apart from battling the French on numerous occasions, he was to have six harried marriages, a little more on which later.

The Protestant Reformation, which kicked off when Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 theses against the sale of indulgences to the church door at Wittenberg in October of 1517, dented Leo’s power because it undermined his way of providing income for his building program. As becomes papal rulers, Leo had the reformers excommunicated but in doing so he failed to deal effectively with the cause of the trouble.

King Henry, meanwhile, ambitious man that he was, attempted to act as a mediator between France and Spain, but failed to achieve any diplomatic success. Henry's aspirations in religious matters led him to writing a pamphlet denouncing the Lutheran ‘heresy’ in 1521, for which Leo X was so grateful that he awarded the King the title Defender of the Faith, or in Latin, Fidei Defensor.

From that moment – October 11th, 1521 – on, King Henry VIII’s full name became:

By the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland,

or if you prefer:

Dei Gracia Rex Anglie et Francie, Fidei Defensor et Dominus Hibernie.

With this new title, the obstinate King carried out further plans to ensure power for himself and his Perfidious Albion. The use of the English Bible was increased in measures – ostensibly so more common folk could read, enjoy and learn the Bible – and soon seizure of church property followed along with the destruction of relics and shrines. Protestantism was born, and by 1534 England actually breached with Rome, by Henry’s iniquitous Act of Supremacy, of which the main objective, it could be argued, was to make the King head of the Church of England.

All this, so that Henry could do in matters matrimonial as he wished – as we saw above. Catherine of Aragon, wilting away in a tower, was divorced, and Henry proudly married five other ladies to show ‘em all who was boss and to try for a son, which he saw as one of his most important duties to England.

He had the initials “F.D.” stamped on coins from then on, and the abbreviation is still used today, sometimes written in a longer form. For instance, various one and two pound coins carry the legend:

Dei Gratia Regina Fidei Defensor
<(By the Grace of God Queen Defender of the Faith)

Julius II :::: Leo X :::: Adrian VI

Henry VII :::: Henry VIII :::: Mary I

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