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Treason

On the accession of Henry VIII treason was narrowly defined by a 14th century statute which made it treason to plot the death of the sovereign, his Queen-consort or the heir apparent; to violate the Queen or the wife of the heir apparent; to wage war in the realm; or to kill the Lord Chancellor or the judges performing their of fices. In practice treason was interpreted much more loosely than this and criticism of the actions and person of the monarch were effectively suppressed thereby. After 1534, however, parliament progressively revised the law relating to treason, broadening it to include, for example, forgery of any of the royal seals. Once a person, great or small, was indicted for treason, legal counsel was denied.