The Real Reason Henry VIII Created The Church Of England

In 1534, King Henry VIII did what every Catholic school kid has imagined doing while being ostracized by a nun for chewing gum during mass: he started his own church where nobody was allowed to tell him what to do.

Generally speaking, there are a couple of reasons to boot up your own religion. Some people do it for power, but Henry was already one of the most powerful people on the planet. Some do it for money, but again, that wasn't an issue for the Tudor king. On the rare occasion, a new religion is born from the founder's stalwart belief that they have communicated with powers on a higher plane than man, and that the truth must be allowed to flow into the public square. Henry made no such claims.

No, Henry VIII created the Church of England for the oldest and noblest of reasons: he was mad thirsty, yo.

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The story goes like this: per Britannica, in 1509, Henry married Catherine of Aragon, his older brother's widow. Time passed on by, as time tends to do, and 24 years later, the king decided he was done with Catherine. She hadn't given Henry a male heir, at least not one that survived infancy, which we can all agree was totally her fault and a perfectly reasonable excuse for a divorce. It didn't help that Hank had met a new boo, Anne Boleyn, and wanted to get down to the nasty on the quick.

There was one thing standing in the way of Henry and Anne's blessed nuptials: the dang old Catholic Church, which took issue with Henry's request for an annulment of his first marriage. Henry did what any reasonable monarch would do and flipped the game board, announcing the beginning of the English Reformation and a church where the pope couldn't tell him who he was and wasn't married to.

And then Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII lived happily ever after, and Henry never overreacted to wife-related issues again.