Wife of King Henry VIII: Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves was born on the 22nd September 1515 at Dusseldorf, Duchy of Cleves to parents; John, the Duke of Cleves and Marie von Julich.

Henry never met his new wife, until she arrived in England, all he had to go on, was the portrait sent to him, for his approval, which pleased him.

In 1539, the marriage treaty was arranged, and Anne made the trip to Rochester, England and her marriage.

Henry walked unannounced into the chambers of Anne of Cleves, she not knowing him, did not acknowledge or curtsy to him, he expected to be acknowledged, and took an instant dislike to her.

On the 6th January 1540, the couple were married, and by the 9th July an annulment of the marriage was granted, on grounds of non-consummation.

Anne of Cleves was reluctant to return to her family home, and be known as a failure.  She stayed at Hever Castle for the rest of her life.

Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of King Henry VIII, was educated in domestic skills.  Henry had expected an intellectual wife, with which to converse with… she could not compete.  Henry had a love of music, books and cards; she had no interest in these.

The marriage was a failure from the start, and a relief to both, when it was over.

Anne’s latter years, was one of an independent woman, visiting court as an honoured guest, and her love for ale and gambling.

Anne of Cleaves, died on the 17th July 1557 at Chelsea in London, and was buried at Westminster Abbey.

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