Anne of Cleves: Facts About the Fourth Wife of Henry VIII

Here are some facts about Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife.

  • Anne of Cleves was born in 1515 in Dusseldorf.
  • Henry sent Hans Holbein, a famous Tudor painter, to the court of the Duke of Cleves. Holbein was instructed to accurately paint portraits of both Anne of Cleves and her sister, Amalia of Cleves. Henry wanted to see what his potential bride looked like before he agreed to the marriage.

  • Henry liked what he saw in the portrait and a marriage treaty between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves was signed in 1539.
  • Henry first met Anne in Rochester and he was apparently disappointed with her appearance. Some have said that Henry named her the ‘Mare of Flanders’.
  • The marriage between Henry and Anne took place on 6th January 1540 in Greenwich Palace.
  • Henry VIII realised he had made a mistake. Anne was ordered to leave the Royal Court on 24th June and Henry asked Anne to consent to an annulment.
  • Anne agreed and the marriage was annulled on 9th July 1540.
  • It seems that Henry VIII was very grateful to Anne for agreeing to the annulment of their marriage. She was given Richmond Palace, Hever Castle and other properties.
  • Historians have suggested that Anne and Henry became good friends. Anne was often invited to court and was referred to as ‘The King’s Beloved Sister’.
  • Anne survived Henry VIII, yet she remained in England and was still active in the Royal Court. Her last public appearance was to attend Mary I’s coronation at Westminster.
  • Anne died on 16th July 1557, aged 41. She was buried in Westminster Abbey. Anne was the last of Henry’s six wives to die.

Click here to find out more about Henry VIII’s other wives.