Not much is known about Anne before 1527. In March 1539, negotiations for Anne’s marriage to Henry began, as Henry believed that he needed to form a political alliance with her brother, William, who was a leader of the Protestants of western Germany, to strengthen his position against potential attacks from Catholic France and the Holy Roman Empire. Anne arrived in England on 27 December 1539 and married Henry on 6 January 1540. However, after six months, the marriage was declared unconsummated and, as a result, she was not crowned queen consort.
Henry’s Fourth Wife was Anne De La Marck otherwise known as Anne of cleves,
Anne and henry were married 6 months and 3 days
Her motto was
God Send Me Well To Keep
Her badge is A Gold crown above a gold Escarbuncle
an Escarbuncle consists of eight radiating rods or spokes often used on shields. In Ancient Warfare Iron Bands Stemming From The Center And Radiating Outwards Were Used To Strengthen The Shield For Better Protection In Battle.
The Crown is A Monarch’s Crown as Anne was royal by birth.
Anne was born in 1515, on either 22 September, or more probably 28 June in Dusseldorf. she was the second daughter of John III of the House of La Marck, Duke of Cleves, Berg and Ravensberg and his wife duchess Maria of Julich-Berg.
At the age of 11 (1527), Anne was betrothed to Francis, son and heir of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine while he was only 10 but the betrothal was considered unofficial and was cancelled in 1535. In 1538 henry was urged to take a new wife. The kings chief minister, Thomas Cromwell suggested the now 25 year old Anne or her 22 year old sister Amalia. Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to Cleves to paint a portraits of Anne and Amalia for the king. Henry required the artist to be as accurate as possible, not to flatter the sisters. The portraits were most likely acurate. Negotiations with Cleves were in full swing by March 1539. Cromwell oversaw the talks and a marriage treaty was signed on 4 October of that year. Henry valued education and cultural sophistication in women, like singing, dancing, writing music, and playing musicle instraments but Anne lacked these. Her mother had given her an education sutable for a german noble woman. She could read and write, but only in German and was skilled in needlework and liked playing card games.
Anne was described by the French ambassador, as tall and slim with blond hair and frekles a high forehead, and heavy-lidded eyes. of middling beauty and of very assured and resolute countenance. The chronicler Edward Hall described anne as “Her hair hanging down, which was fair, yellow and long … she was dressed after the English fashion, with a French hood, which so set forth her beauty and good visage, that every creature rejoiced to behold her”
Henry met her privately on New Year’s Day 1540 at Rochester Abbey in Rochester on her journey from Dover. Henry and some of his courtiers, following a courtly-love tradition, went disguised into the room where Anne was staying. It was expected anne would see through henrys desgise and see him as the king but anne was inexperienced with the game of courtly love and when henry tried to kiss anne she moved away and ignored him. The king was humiliated by this meeting. that night 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. In his anger and frustration the King turned on Cromwell. Despite Henry’s very vocal misgivings, the two were married on 6 January 1540. The couple’s first night as husband and wife was not a successful 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.” In February 1540, speaking to Eleanor Paston, the Countess of Rutland Anne praised the King as a kind husband, saying: “When he comes to bed he kisseth me, and he taketh me by the hand, and biddeth me ‘Good night, sweetheart’; and in the morning kisseth me and biddeth ‘Farewell, darling.'” Lady Rutland responded: “Madam, there must be more than this, or it will be long ere we have a duke of York, which all this realm most desireth.”
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. Anne was asked for her consent to an annulment, to which she agreed. Cromwell, the moving force behind the marriage, was attainted for treason. The marriage was annulled on 9 July 1540, on the grounds of non-consummation and her pre-contract to Francis of Lorraine.
The former queen received a generous settlement, including Richmond Palace, and Hever Castle, home of Henry’s former in- laws, the Boleyns. Anne of Cleves House, in Lewes, East Sussex, is just one of many properties she owned; she never lived there. Henry and Anne became good friends—she was an honorary member of the King’s family and was referred to as “the King’s Beloved Sister”. She was invited to court often and, out of gratitude for her not contesting the annulment, Henry decreed that she would be given precedence over all women in England save his own wife and daughters.
In March 1547, Edward VI’s Privy Council asked her to move to Penshurst Place ther pointed out that Penshurst was nearer to Hever and the move had been Henry VIII’s will. On 4 August 1553, Anne wrote to Mary I to congratulate her on her marriage to Philip of Spain. On 28 September 1553, when Mary left St James’s Palace for Whitehall, she was accompanied by her sister Elizabeth and Anne of Cleves. Anne also took part in Mary I’s coronation procession. These were her last public appearances. in the middle of July 1557, Anne dictated her last will. In it, she mentions her brother, sister, and sister-in-law, as well as the future Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Suffolk, and the Countess of Arundel. She left some money to her servants and asked Mary and Elizabeth to employ them in their households. She was remembered by everyone who served her as a particularly generous and easy-going mistress.
Anne died at Chelsea Old Manor on 16 July 1557, eight weeks before her forty-second birthday. The most likely cause of her death was cancer. She was buried in Westminster Abbey, on 3 August, in what has been described as a “somewhat hard to find tomb” on the opposite side of Edward the Confessor’s shrine and slightly above eye level for a person of average height. She is the only wife of Henry VIII to be buried in the Abbey.
Anne’s epitaph in Westminster Abbey, which is in English, reads simply:
ANNE OF CLEVES
QUEEN OF ENGLAND
BORN 1515 DIED 1557
She also has the distinction of being the last of Henry VIII’s wives to die, as she outlived Henry’s last wife, Catherine Parr, by 9 years. She was not the longest-lived, however, since Catherine of Aragon was 50 at the time of her death.
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