The 1960s fad among Latin Christians for using at the Eucharist 'real' ... that is, leavened ... bread was not new. I thank my indefatigable benefactor Professor Tighe for an article by Christopher Haigh in 2003, about usage within the newly protestantised Church of England in 1559 and the following decades.
I tend to feel that the jury may still be out on the religion ... deep within any heart she had ... of Elizabeth Tudor. Sometimes, one can see her choices as straightforward political gestures. She needed, she felt, to be able to say (she did say) that she had been crowned and anointed by Catholic bishops according to Catholic rites ... and so she saw to it that she was. But there was another constituency; the Protestant activists. The more extreme of these already resented or suspected politicians ... including Elizabeth herself ... who had conformed in the Marian period; at least, conformed to the extent of neither fleeing the country nor being publicly guilty of Protestant heresy. So she made a ...?political ... issue of the Elevation of the Host.
On the other hand, one could cite the ornaments of her private chapel ... the preservation of Church Music ... her dislike of married clergy ...
Her Prayer Book of 1559 had followed the BCP of 1551 in ordering that "to take away the superstition which any person hath or might have in the bread and wine, it shall suffice that the bread be such as is usual to be eaten at table with other meats ...". But, strangely, she seems to have added to the Injunctions of 1559 a reversion to the 1549 rubric, "that the same sacramental bread be made and formed plain, without any figure thereupon, of the same fineness and fashion, round, though somewhat bigger in compass and thickness, as the usual bread and wafer heretofore named singing cakes, which served for the use of the private mass."
A correspondent reminds me that the question of "wafer bread" came up in the C of E during the Ritualist Controversies. A Churchwarden, engaging with others to persecute his incumbent for the use of "wafers", surreptitiously conveyed a Wafer away from Communion in order to use It as Evidence in a prosecution. The sacrilege was only resolved by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself demanding to be shown "the Evidence" ... being handed It ... and taking the opportunity to consume It.
The contradiction between statutory provision, and the Royal Will of Elizabeth Tudor, naturally caused confusion. Bishops did not know which to enforce; parishioners would go so far as to refuse the Sacrament if their parish priest made the 'wrong' choice.
At this point, I found myself wondering whether, in some cases, those who thus refused Communion might have been Catholics or 'Church Papists' who had found thereby a clever way within the Law of not receiving Communion in a Protestant rite. One writer (Haigh) briefly alludes to this possibility; but he does not perform the intricate task of correlating the names and families of such recorded 'principled' non-communicants with the Recusancy lists. That might be fun for some young researcher to take in hand!
He also claims that the use of wafer bread did not last beyond "the end of [Elizabeth's] reign". But here I have personal query to enter.
My last job in the Church of England was as pp of S Thomas the Martyr iuxta ferriviam in Oxford. My predecessor in the years 1616-1640 was Robert ('Melancholy') Burton.
And during his incumbency, wafer bread was (?still) used at S Thomas's!