Henry VIII rejected Catholicism and founded the Church of England in 1533 after the Pope refused to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry's decision to leave the Catholic church and marry Anne Boleyn, Catherine's lady-in-waiting, prompted the pope to excommunicate him.
Henry wanted a male heir, and Catherine, who was in her 40s, had given birth to only one daughter. He hoped to conceive a son via a second marriage though he also specifically wanted to marry Anne. After their marriage, Henry became the head of the Church of England, effectively ending England's association with Catholicism and the pope; however, Henry VIII never gave up his Catholic beliefs, even as the country gradually adopted Protestantism.