Anne of Cleves left her homeland in 1539 to marry the king of England. She was never brought up to be a queen yet out of many possible choices, she was the bride Henry VIII chose as his fourth wife. Yet from their first meeting the king decided he liked her not and sought an immediate divorce. After just six months their marriage was annulled, leaving Anne one of the wealthiest women in England. This is the story of Anne’s marriage to Henry, how the daughter of Cleves survived him and her life afterwards.
I have always had a soft spot for Anne of Cleves. I live near Cleves and have visited the Swan Castle where she stayed on her way to marry King Henry VIII as his fourth wife. She had the unfortunate luck to go into history as the “ugly one”, rather than the survivor that she was. As a result, she also seems to be the rather forgotten wife. After Anne and Henry’s short marriage, she was named “The King’s Sister” and she became a pretty wealthy woman. She outlived Henry and all of his other wives and lived well into the reign of her stepdaughter Queen Mary I.
Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Unwanted Wife is the most recent look into Anne’s life. I really enjoyed Sarah-Beth’s style of writing and the book flows really well. You can certainly sense the desperation Anne must have felt during those uncertain six months. Nevertheless, I am not sure the book brings much new information to light, though one can never have too many books about royal women!