The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



Today in History: Henry VIII Married Anne of Cleves

Posted by Gilbert Stack on January 6, 2019 at 11:05 PM

On this day (January 6) in 1540 King Henry VIII married Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife, after the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour. The marriage was arranged by Thomas Cromwell who wanted to strengthen England’s ties to the Protestants. The marriage was not successful. Henry repeatedly complained that his agents had overstated Anne’s beauty and that he did not find her attractive, but he permitted himself to be convinced to go ahead with the marriage which he proved unable to consummate. (He blamed this on what he described as Anne’s unpleasant body odor and sagging breasts.) After six months, he asked Anne to agree to an annulment and she agreed. (A month later he married the sixteen or seventeen year old Catherine Howard whom he would have executed sixteen months later for adultery.)

Anne was given a generous settlement which included property previously owned by the Boleyn family. Anne and Henry became friends after the annulment and she became an unofficial member of the royal family with Henry referring to her as his beloved sister. She was also close to Henry’s daughters Mary and Elizabeth. She outlived all of Henry’s other wives.

Categories: Today in History

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