Royal Declaration


The solemn repudiation of Catholicism which, from 1689 to 1910 was required from every sovereign of Great Britain. It was sometimes called “the King’s Protestant Declaration,” “the Declaration against Transubstantiation,” or, incorrectly, “the Coronation Oath.” This last was never objected to by Catholics, being a simple promise to govern justly and maintain “the Protestant Reformed Religion established by Law.” The Royal Declaration, however, commencing

“I, … King of England, Scotland and Ireland, …do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, that I do believe that in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper there is not any Transubstantiation of the elements of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ at or after the consecration thereof by any person whatsoever; and that the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous”

and going on to declare that this statement was made “without any evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation whatsoever,” was offensive, inasmuch as the Mass was stigmatized as idolatrous, the phraseology “adoration” of the Virgin Mary and the Saints ”as now used in the Church of Rome” was a false statement of Catholic doctrine, and the general tone of the oath was one of studied insult to the Catholic Faith. Originating in the “Test” administered to office-holders after the supposed “Popish Plot” of 1678, in order to exclude Catholics from office, it eventually came to be used exclusively for sovereigns. Several unsuccessful attempts to alter it were made after 1891; at the coronation of 1902, it was noticed that Edward VII recited the words of the oath almost in a whisper, and with evident signs of embarrassment. In 1910, through the influence of George V, the formula was changed before the coronation to a simple declaration of loyalty to the Protestant faith, and a promise to uphold the Protestant succession to the throne.

MLA Citation

  • “Royal Declaration”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 22 December 2010. Web. 24 January 2019. <>