King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) is the reason why the Church of England is no longer in communion with the Church of Rome, and is thus the ultimate founder of the Anglican faith. However, the Anglican communion does not celebrate him as such. The only defense that Anglicans can possibly offer is that he’s an example, like Judas, of God working good things through human malevolence. From the Guardian (hat tip: Paul Halsall):
It is a Tudor warrant book, one of many in the National Archives, filled with bureaucratic minutiae relating to 16th-century crimes. But this one has an extraordinary passage, overlooked until now, which bears instructions from Henry VIII explaining precisely how he wanted his second wife, Anne Boleyn, to be executed.
In this document, the king stipulated that, although his queen had been “adjudged to death… by burning of fire… or decapitation”, he had been “moved by pity” to spare her the more painful death of being “burned by fire”. But he continued: “We, however, command that… the head of the same Anne shall be… cut off.”
Tracy Borman, a leading Tudor historian, described the warrant book as an astonishing discovery, reinforcing the image of Henry VIII as a “pathological monster”. She told the Observer: “As a previously unknown document about one of the most famous events in history, it really is golddust, one of the most exciting finds in recent years. What it shows is Henry’s premeditated, calculating manner. He knows exactly how and where he wants it to happen.” The instructions laid out by Henry are for Sir William Kingston, constable of the Tower, detailing how the king would rid himself of the “late queen of England, lately our wife, lately attainted and convicted of high treason”.
Boleyn was incarcerated in the Tower of London on 2 May 1536 for adultery. At her trial, she was depicted as unable to control her “carnal lusts”. She refuted the charges but was found guilty of treason and condemned to be burned or beheaded at “the King’s pleasure”.
Most historians agree the charges were bogus – her only crime had been her failure to give Henry a son. The most famous king in English history married six times in his relentless quest for a male heir. He divorced his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to marry Boleyn – the marriage led him to break with the Catholic church and brought about the English Reformation. Boleyn did bear him a daughter, who became Elizabeth I.
More at the link.