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Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves (1515–57), 4th queen of Henry VIII. The daughter of John, 3rd duke of Cleves, Anne was suggested by Thomas Cromwell as a wife for Henry VIII to strengthen the protestant alliance. On first meeting, in December 1539, Henry was dismayed to find her ‘well and seemly … but nothing so fair as reported’, alluding to Holbein's flattering portrait. He was persuaded to go through with the marriage in January 1540. Anne spoke little English and was not well educated, not sharing Henry's passion either for dance or music. Her jovial nature was not enough and Henry found her plain and homely. After Cromwell's fall and the swing in favour of catholicism, Henry sought swiftly to extricate himself, citing grounds of non-consummation, her earlier betrothal to a son of the duke of Lorraine, and, most tellingly, that he had never inwardly consented. The annulment was declared in July 1540, according Anne a handsome settlement and residences, on condition that she remain in England and accept the status of royal sister. Not surprisingly, Anne felt that she had fared rather well. Henry quickly remarried, making Catherine Howard his fifth wife. After Catherine's execution, there were rumours that Anne was to be recalled, and even that she was pregnant, but nothing came of it. She lived at Chelsea until her death in July 1557 and was buried with considerable ceremony at Westminster abbey.

Sue Minna Cannon

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Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves (klēvz), 1515–57, fourth queen consort of Henry VIII of England. The sister of William, duke of Cleves, one of the most powerful of the German Protestant princes, she was considered a desirable match for Henry by those English councilors, most notably Thomas Cromwell, who wished to ally England with the Schmalkaldic League. The marriage was agreed upon in 1539, and although Henry tried to break the contract after seeing his bride, they were married in Jan., 1540. Henry found Anne dull and unattractive, and the marriage was never consummated. This and the fact that Anne had previously contracted to marry the duke of Lorraine's son were used as grounds for divorce in July, 1540. Anne gave her consent and, by agreement, lived the rest of her life in England.

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Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves (1515–57) Fourth wife of Henry VIII of England. Her marriage (1540) was a political alliance joining Henry with the German Protestants, and was never consummated, being declared null after only six months. Anne received a pension, and remained in England until her death.

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