Friday, July 16, 2010

Anne of Cleves, July 16, 1557

You know the old verse describing Henry VIII's six wives:

Divorced, beheaded, she died;
Divorced, beheaded, she survived.

Of course, like any generalization or simplification, it has its limits: Katherine of Aragon's marriage was annulled, and so was Anne Boleyn's before she was beheaded; Henry and Anne of Cleves' marriage was also annulled, and Catherine Parr just barely survived Henry, while Anne of Cleves survived her by nine years. Without a doubt, Jane Seymour died.

Thus, I believe Anne was the real survivor--she remained in England became a friend of Henry's, mentor to his children, and a Catholic; she was materially comfortable and she had the pleasure of seeing Mary, the Princess crowned as Queen of England.
Anne materially benefitted from the fall of her predecessor of that name after the annulment on July 9, 1540 when Henry gave her the Boleyn home at Hever Castle. He also gave her Richmond Castle; Anne was wealthy and independent. After Catherine Howard was executed, there was brief talk of Henry and Anne marrying again.
She died on this day in 1557 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

1 comment:

  1. The poor "Flanders mare" has always been a sympathetic figure to most but I've been growing more fond of her the more I read about her. It was only lately that I found out she converted while in England and that was at least one big reason why she never returned to Germany. She was (if I'm correct on this) the one 'married' to Henry for the shortest time and she was by far the most fortunate of all of his wives.