Anne of Cleaves (Queen of England)

Female 1515 - 1557  (41 years)


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  • Name Anne of Cleaves (Queen of England) 
    Born 22 Sep 1515  Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 16 Jul 1557  Hever, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Hever Castle Cemetery Hever, Kent, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I747  King of Scots
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2009 

    Family Henry VIII King of England and King of Ireland,   b. 28 Jun 1491, Greenwich Palace Greenwich, London Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Jan 1547, Whitehall Palace London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Married 1540 
    Divorced 1540 
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2009 
    Family ID F302  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 22 Sep 1515 - Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 16 Jul 1557 - Hever, Kent, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Hever Castle Cemetery Hever, Kent, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
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    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Anne of Cleves
    Anne of Cleves
    Personal Collection

  • Notes 
    • Anne of Cleves (22 September 1515?16 July 1557) (German: Anna von Jülich-Kleve-Berg) was a German noblewoman and the fourth wife of Henry VIII of England and as such she was Queen of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540. The marriage was never consummated, and she was not crowned queen consort. Following the annulment of their marriage, Anne was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King's Beloved Sister. She outlived all of Henry's wives.

      Anne was the subject of two portraits by Hans Holbein the younger who painted her in 1539.

      Early life
      Anne was born near Düsseldorf,[2] the second daughter of John III, ruler of the Duchy of Cleves, who died in 1538, and his wife Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg (1491- 1543). Her father was influenced by Erasmus and followed a moderate path within the Reformation. He sided with the Schmalkaldic League and opposed Emperor Charles V. After John's death, Anne's brother William became Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, bearing the promising epithet "The Rich." In 1526, her elder sister Sybille was married to John Frederick, Elector of Saxony, head of the Protestant Confederation of Germany and considered the "Champion of the Reformation". At the age of 12 (1527), she was betrothed to Francis, son and heir of the Duke of Lorraine while he was only 10, thus the betrothal was considered 'unofficial' and was cancelled in 1535. Her brother William was a Lutheran but the family was unaligned religiously, with her mother, the Duchess Maria described as a "strict Catholic".[3] The Duke's ongoing dispute over Gelderland with Emperor Charles V made them suitable allies for England's King Henry VIII in the wake of the Truce of Nice. The match with Anne was urged on the King by his chancellor, Thomas Cromwell.


      Bride and wife of the King of England

      Wedding preparations
      The artist Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to paint portraits of Anne and her younger sister, Amelia, both of whom Henry was considering as his fourth wife. Henry required the artist to be as accurate as possible, not to flatter the sisters. The two versions of Holbein's portrait are in The Louvre in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Negotiations with the Cleves court were in full swing by March 1539. Cromwell oversaw the talks and a marriage treaty was signed on 4 October of the same year. While Henry valued education and cultural sophistication in women, Anne lacked these in her upbringing; she received no formal education as a child, and instead of being able to sing or play an instrument, she was skilled in needlework, and liked to play card games. She had learned to read and write, but in German only. Nevertheless, Anne was considered gentle, virtuous, and docile, qualities that made her a suitable candidate for Henry. Anne was described by the French ambassador, Charles de Marillac, as tall and slim, "of middling beauty, and of very assured and resolute countenance".[4] She was dark haired, with a rather swarthy complexion, appeared solemn by English standards, and she looked old for her age. Holbein painted her with high forehead, heavy-lidded eyes and a pointed chin.[5]

      Henry was impatient to see his future bride. He rode to meet her at Rochester on her way to London and was promptly disappointed. He felt he had been misled, as everyone had praised Anne's attractions: "She is nothing so fair as she hath been reported," he complained.[6] Henry urged Cromwell to find a legal way to avoid the marriage but, by this point, doing so was impossible without endangering the vital alliance with the Germans.

      [edit] A doomed marriage
      Despite Henry's very vocal misgivings, the two were married on 6 January 1540 at the royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. The phrase "God send me well to keep" was engraved around Anne?s wedding ring. Immediately after arriving in England, Anne conformed to the Catholic form of worship, which Henry expected. [7] The couple's first night as husband and wife was not a happy one. Henry confided to Cromwell that he had not consummated the marriage, saying, "I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse".[8]

      Anne was commanded to leave the Court on 24 June, and on 6 July she was informed of her husband's decision to reconsider the marriage. In a short time, Anne was asked for her consent to an annulment, to which she agreed. The marriage was annulled on 9 July 1540, on the grounds both of non-consummation and of her pre-contract to Francis of Lorraine.


      [edit] After the annulment
      The former queen received a generous settlement, including Richmond Palace, Hever Castle, home of Henry's former in-laws, the Boleyns. Anne of Cleves House, in Lewes, Sussex, is just one of many properties she owned; she never lived there. Henry and Anne became good friends - she was an honourary member of the King's family [7] and was referred to as "the King's Beloved Sister".

      In 1553, when Henry's daughters Mary and Elizabeth rode side-by-side into London with Mary as the new monarch, Anne was there to greet them. [7] She was also present at Mary I's coronation at Westminster. [7] That was her last public appearance. A few months later, Anne wrote to Mary I to congratulate her on her marriage to the Prince of Asturias. [7] Nevertheless, Anne rarely visited the Court during Mary's reign and enjoyed managing her own estates. [7] Since her arrival as the King's bride, Anne had never left England: her parents were both dead by the time her marriage was annulled and her strictly Protestant brother did not approve her adherance to Roman Catholicism. [7]


      [edit] Death
      When her health began to fail, Mary I allowed Anne to live at Chelsea Old Manor, where Henry's last wife lived after her remarriage. Here she dictated her last will in mid-July 1557. In her will, she mentions her brother, sister, and sister-in-law, as well as the future Queen Elizabeth I, the Duchess of Norfolk and the Countess of Arundel. [7] She left some money to her servants and asked Mary and Elizabeth to employ them in their households. [7]

      Anne died at Hever Castle on 16 July 1557, a few weeks before her forty-second birthday. She was buried on 3 August in what is described as a "somewhat hard to find tomb in Westminster Abbey". Her tomb is on the opposite site of Edward the Confessor's shrine, and slightly above eye level for a person of average height.

      She also has the distinction of being the last of Henry VIII's wives to die (she outlived Henry's last wife, Catherine Parr, by 9 years). However, she is not the longest-lived, for Catherine of Aragon was 50 at the time of her death.


      In fiction
      Philippa Gregory's novel, The Boleyn Inheritance, is told from the viewpoint of three prominent women at the Tudor court of Henry VIII: Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Jane Boleyn.

      Margaret Campbell Barnes' My Lady of Cleves describes what Anne's life might have been like between the time her portrait was painted by Hans Holbein and when King Henry VIII died.

      A fictionalised Anne of Cleves appears briefly in the opening scenes of Carry On Henry, played by Patsy Rowlands.

      Joss Stone will play Anne in the third season of Showtime's The Tudors.


      Historiography
      Sir Horace Walpole, writing in the 18th century, resurrected the myth which described Anne as "The Flanders Mare" ? a monument to ugliness. This view persisted, and it is still a popular stereotype. Most modern historians, however, disagree with it, and the Holbein portrait certainly contradicts it. Another theory is that Anne found Henry repulsive because of his obesity, and set out to make him dislike her.[9]

      Another theory suggests that they agreed that they simply did not get on well with each other ? Anne had been raised in the small provincial court at Düsseldorf and shared none of the musical and humanistic literary tastes of Henry's court. Another theory suggests that shifts in a threatened Catholic French-Spanish alliance removed any diplomatic motivations for their union. In any event, Henry and Anne split on amicable terms and became close friends. Henry even made her Princess of England.

      Finally, there is the theory that the marriage was politically inconvenient because of the growing hostility between Henry and the Duke of Cleves. [10]

      [edit] References
      ^ Weir, Alison: The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Grove Press, 2000; page 388
      ^ At the time, the area was in the Duchy of Cleves.
      ^ Antonia Fraser "The Wives of Henry VIII", page298
      ^ "de corps haute et gresle, de beaulté moyenne et de contenance fort asseurée et résolue." John Schofield, The Rise & Fall of Thomas Cromwell, Stroud (UK): The History Press, 2008, ISBN 9780752446042, p. 240.
      ^ Antonia Fraser " The Wives of Henry VIII", page 306
      ^ Schofield, p. 239.
      ^ a b c d e f g h i Weir, Alison: The Six Wives of Henry VIII; Grove Press, 2000; page 388.
      ^ Schofield, p. 240.
      ^ Lindsey, Karen. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived Da Capo Press (May 2, 1996) p146.
      ^ Biography Channel
      ^ a b c d e f Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p341.htm#i3409, retrieved on 2007-10-27
      ^ Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p10150.htm#i101499, retrieved on 2007-10-27
      ^ a b c d e f Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p341.htm#i3410, retrieved on 2007-10-27
      ^ a b Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p10150.htm#i101500, retrieved on 2007-10-27
      ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p10309.htm#i103089, retrieved on 2007-10-27
      ^ a b Lundy, Darryl, thePeerage, http://www.thepeerage.com/p343.htm#i3428, retrieved on 2007-10-27


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