Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves the Fourth wife of King Henry VIII

Picture of Anne of Cleves

 

Anne of Cleves

  • Interesting Facts and information about Anne of Cleves famous as the Fourth wife of Henry VIII
  • The Nationality of Anne of Cleves
  • Short Biography, Facts and Information about the Life of Anne of Cleves
  • The Picture of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein
  • The Divorce of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
  • The Death of Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves

Fourth wife of King Henry VIII

Timeline of Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves - Fourth wife of King Henry VIII
Anne of Cleves was the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. The life story of this fascinating and Tudor woman who was divorced by King Henry is one of the most famous of the Tudor period. The motto of Anne of Cleves was 'God send me well to keep'. 

What was the Nationality of Anne of Cleves?
What was the nationality of Anne of Cleves? Cleves was situated in the most prosperous and civilised region of Europe referred to as the Low Countries. Cleves is now in Germany close to the border with Holland. Cleves was a Protestant state. Following the Act of Supremacy, when England broke with the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant Church of England was established, England was threatened but the powerful Catholic countries of France and Spain. Thomas Cromwell therefore sought to arrange a political and Protestant alliance with Cleves.

Short Biography, Facts and Information about the Life of Anne of Cleves
This short biography and information about Anne of Cleves provides basic facts about her life:

  • Nationality of Anne of Cleves: German
  • Role and Position: Fourth wife King Henry VIII & Stepmother to Queen Elizabeth I
  • Lifespan: 1515 - 1557
  • Born: 1515 in Dusseldorf, Cleves in Germany
  • Motto: The motto chosen by Anne of Cleves was 'God send me well to keep'
  • Married: 6 January 1540
  • Divorced: July 1540
  • Family connections: Her father was John III of Cleves and her mother was Marie of Julich. Her brother, William, was the Duke of Cleves
  • Religion: Protestant
  • Death of Anne of Cleves: She died on 16 July 1557

Marriage Overview: The reason King Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, was to gain a Protestant political alliance in Europe. Henry saw her picture, painted by Holbein, thought she was pretty and agreed to the marriage. He was sorely disappointed when he met her and promptly divorced her.

Description of Anne of Cleves
The description of Anne of Cleves: Anne of Cleves wore German fashions when she met King Henry VIII which were deemed to be unsophisticated and unflattering. The small pox scars which she bore were not included in her flattering portrait painted by Hans Holbein. King Henry VIII is reputed to have described Anne of Cleves as 'a fat Flanders Mare'. The character of Anne of Cleves can be described as good humored, intelligent, sensible and kind.

The Parents of Anne of Cleves
The parents of Anne of Cleves were John III of Cleves and Marie of Julich. Her brother, William, was the Duke of Cleves and he undertook responsibility for the marriage negotiations as his father was ill.

The Childhood of Anne of Cleves
The childhood of Anne of Cleves was surrounded by the strict rules of the Protestant Cleves court. She was not educated in music, literature, languages or dance as were the princesses of other courts in Europe which was a real disadvantage when she reached England where she was viewed as very unsophisticated. But she was intelligent.

The Picture of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein
The Picture of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein: There were three sisters in the family of Cleves and Hans Holbein and the famous Tudor court painter, was sent to paint the pictures of the German princesses - Sybilla, Amelia and Anne of Cleves. In February 1539, the English Council led by Thomas Cromwell were  urging King Henry VIII to remarry. In March 1539, Nicholas Wotton and Robert Barnes were sent as envoys to Cleves, to arrange a marriage with either Anne or Amelia. On 23 April 1539 Hans Holbien was  commissioned to paint the portraits of Anne and Amelia. Hans Holbein reflected the sweet nature of Anne of Cleves in the portrait and paid great attention to the fine details of her clothes. King Henry VIII chose Princess Anne of Cleves as his bride. The marriage treaty with Cleves was finalized. Anne of Cleves travelled to England and King Henry VIII rushed to meet his young bride. The portrait of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein was over-complimentary.  Anne of Cleves was not what Henry expected. "I like her not!" he told all and sundry. King Henry VIII is also reputed to have described Anne of Cleves as 'a fat Flanders Mare'.

The Divorce of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
The divorce of King Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves: King Henry was furious with both Thomas Cromwell and Hans Holbein but King Henry could not get out of the marriage contract and the marriage ceremony went ahead - he protested all the way! The marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves was not consummated. Poor, innocent 19 year old Anne believed that all was well. She barely spoke English and was naive as to the ways of the world or of relationships between a husband and wife. Anne of Cleves then learnt that her husband, the King of England, wanted the marriage annulled and a divorce. Anne of Cleves cooperated completely with Henry's wishes - she was a clever woman and shrewd enough to take account of the demise of his previous wives. And Henry was not a great catch. Henry was forty-eight years old and was fat, bloated and well past his prime. The good looks of his youth had faded. King Henry still believed he was a handsome prince and that his new wife Anne of Cleves would be difficult in agreeing to his request for a divorce. But Anne of Cleves readily agreed to his request for a divorce. King Henry VIII was so pleased with Anne of Cleves agreeing to a divorce that he granted her money and estates and treated her with the deference that would be afforded to his Royal 'Sister'. Henry set up a settlement of 4,000 English pounds per year, and gave Anne of Cleves a number of homes, including Hever Castle the home of Anne Boleyn. Anne of Cleves was requested, in return, to make her permanent residence in England. King Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves were divorced 9 July 1540. The English Parliament declared the marriage between Henry and Anne of Cleves as null and void because Anne had once been engaged to the son of the Duke of Lorraine. Clever Anne of Cleves had emerged from the marriage to Henry VIII far happier than when she had entered it!

The Death of Anne of Cleves
The death of Anne of Cleves: Anne lived a happy life in England for the rest of her days and attended various functions at court. Anne of Cleves became one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in England. She was a kind stepmother to all of the children of King Henry VIII. Anne of Cleves died on 1557 October 24 1557. Her death was at Chelsea Old Palace, England and Anne of Cleves was buried in Westminster Abbey. Anne of Cleves outlived King Henry VIII and was the last of King Henry's six wives to die.

Anne of Cleves
Each section of this Tudors website addresses all topics and provides interesting facts and information about Anne of Cleves. The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Tudors!

Anne of Cleves

  • The Nationality of Anne of Cleves
  • Short Biography, Facts and Information about the Life of Anne of Cleves
  • Description of Anne of Cleves
  • The Parents of Anne of Cleves
  • The Picture of Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein
  • The Divorce of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
  • The Death of Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves

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