Prior to the reign of King Henry VIII, England had been a Roman Catholic nation which held the Pope, in Rome, to be their religious leader. When King Henry sought a divorce from his wife Catherine of Aragon, he had to request permission to do so from the Pope. Because the Roman Catholic church does not recognize divorces or grant annulments unless in exceptional circumstances, the Pope turned him down. Henry so badly wanted a divorce that he declared himself to be the supreme religious authority in England, establishing the Church of England or the Anglican Communion.
King Henry made changes to the constitution stating that the monarch of England is granted their right to rule by God and so they wield religious authority in addition to the political or governmental power. By separating from the greater Roman Catholic Church, Henry brought the Reformation which had begun with Martin Luther to England. Since Henry's founding of the Anglican Communion, England has seen great conflict between Protestants and Catholics.