Talk:Anne of Cleves

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Anne of Cleves is cool

Why? Bastie 06:40, 8 October 2005 (UTC)

I find it very difficult to believe that Anne, who undoubtedly found her husband to be disgusting, would ever "purposely make him dislike" her, when most people feared him and he had already put to death one wife and was rumored to have had another murdered.

What you said makes sense, but I don't think that Henry would dare to execute a foreign princess. He was very careful when he divorced Catherine of Aragon because he didnt want to get into troubles with Spain and Holy Roman Empire, but Anne Boleyn was his subject. Anne of Cleves had many German duchies to protect her, which is why Henry treated her as a Princess of England. (talk) 11:10, 17 February 2008 (UTC)


"William (Wilhelm ?) was a Catholic personally..." but what was Anne ? It later says she converted to Catholicism. -- Beardo 05:09, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

As I'm sure you already know, during the Protestant Reformation, Henry VIII had broken away from the Roman Catholic faith and formed the Church of England. This was a very tumultuous period throughout Europe. Anne's brother Duke William, though Catholic, arranged for her marriage to the King of England for political reasons -- as usually was the case for royal marriages. Their [Anne and William's] brother-in-law was also John Frederick, Elector of Saxony and head of the Protestant Confederation of Germany, which made for an advantageous marriage for Henry. Upon marriage, she left the Catholic faith of her birth and converted to the King's faith. When both Henry VIII and his son Edward VI died, Henry's daughter Mary I, a life-long practicing Catholic (through her mother Catherine of Aragon), became queen and tried to 'force' England back to Catholicism. Hence the nickname "Bloody Mary". By this time, and since Anne was on good terms with her one-time step-daughter, she had converted back to Catholicism. Makes complete sense. Darnold01 05:25, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Anne's brother William (Wilhelm) was not "a Catholic personally". He was a Lutheran, as was his father, as were most German rulers at the time. Anne's faith at her birth was not Catholic, it was Lutheran. England at the time was neither Catholic nor Protestant (in the Lutheran or Reformation sense). It was "Church of England" - which was more or less Catholic in ritual but which had the King rather than the Pope at its head. Anne herself seems not to have taken part in the theological disputes of her time; rather, she accommodated herself to the prevailing and/or official religion wherever she was. MelanieN (talk) 16:31, 17 June 2009 (UTC)MelanieN

I agree, there is no evidence that Anne was ever a practicing Catholic and I was surprised to see it here. Wikipedia has a duty to present those facts which have the best backing, and in this case all the evidence - the deliberate selection of a Protestant alliance, William's ardent Lutheranism (Weir says that even her conversion to Anglicanism upset her brother IIRC), and even the obsession with female modesty which lead her brother to present his sisters to Henry's representatives swathed from head to toe - indicates that she was a Lutheran, by circumstance if not by choice. Anne was easy-going enough with her religious beliefs in England that it would be odd of her to be a Catholic in opposition to her brother while she lived in Cleves, and had she been, we would have surely heard about it in contemporary records. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:48, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Divorce equals non-existant title[edit]

If the marriage between King Henry VIII and Queen Anne had not been consummated and subsequently annulled on that basis would it not be a plausible argument to suggest that she never legally held the style and title of Queen of Enlgand? An annulment in the laws of England suggests that a marriage, whether it had been solemnised or not, was null and void and of non effect and effectively supposes that the marriage never occurred. On that basis, should we now suppose that Queen Anne was always and only Princess Anne of Cleves (or Prinzessin Anna von Kleve) rather than the higher position of Queen Anne? I compare her with the late Diana, Princess of Wales in that Princess Diana was never legally styled and accorded the title of Princess Diana and although she was always referred to as such it had just the same effect as referring to Princess Anne of Cleves as Queen Anne of England?

No. For a few months Anne was considered Queen of England. Even if the marriage was later annulled, she still counts as being Queen of England during that period - the fact that she was called Queen of England and so forth cannot be taken back by an annulment, and annulments are not generally considered to do that. She is on every list of queens consort that I've ever seen. Also worth noting that she was not merely Princess of Cleves. She was, upon the divorce, given the style of the King's sister, and given the according precedence and so forth. john k 01:33, 7 November 2006 (UTC)

I appreciate that she was acknowledged as the Queen during the few months that they were married but under English and cannon law an annulment reverses the act of marriage that had happened before. Queen Anne upon her annulment reverted to be being Princess Anne but i'm confused. An annulment means that the marriage never really took place (as far as i'm aware) and so how can she possibly be considered King Henry VIII's wife whether she had been acknowledged as such or not. The King was married six times according to history but was he really? or was he married five times or even four times (considering the way he annulled his marriage to Queen Catherine). On her tomb at Westminster Abbey, is enscribed Anne of Cleves whereas on Anne Boleyn's tomb is enscribed Queen Anne Boleyn. I cannot see how she can ever seriously be regarded as having been the wife of Henry VIII and thus be Queen. However, if they had divorced rather than had an annulment that would be different. She would be posthumously entitled to be known as Queen Anne and her divorce settlement would be equally understandable. An annulment however changes the status of the individual to being seen as if they had never married. Therefore, Queen Anne can only ever have been Princess Anne as far as I can see.

Under canon law, no marriage of Henry VIII was annuled, so I'm not sure what you're getting at. john k 02:04, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Under cannon law, a marriage between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves WAS annulled because annulment on the grounds of a non-consummated marriage is permitted under cannon law. As this was the case, Anne of Cleves seized to be the wife of Henry VIII as if she had never been his wife null and void and of none effect. Those words imply to me null and void = no longer valid and of none effect= as if it had never happened. If it was of none effect then she was never Queen. In fact, if the marriage was annulled on that basis then she remained Princess Anne of Cleves. If the marriage had been annulled on the ground of her precontract with the Marquess of Lorraine then effectively she was the common law wife of the Marquess of Lorraine and therefore an effective Marchioness of Lorraine (i'm not saying that she was). Take for example Catherine of Aragaon, after her annulment she reverted to being the Princess Dowager of Wales because the marriage had been annulled on the grounds that Catherine of Aragaon's marriage to Prince Arthur had been consummated. As a result, she reverted to her previous style of Princes Dowager of Wales because that was the only title that Catherine was entitled to under English and cannon law as if the marriage had been of none effect. Similarily, her daughter was stripped off her title and style of Princess and referred to as The Lady Mary because was granted as a courtesy title as the bastard daughter out of wedlock. She was deemed to be illegitimate because the marriage was invalid and of none effect. How then can we justify Anne of Cleves as being Queen of England? I think we can justify Catherine of Aragaon as being Queen of England for five main reasons (1) the marriage was never legally annulled. I think the King was guilty in this instance of granting himself an immediate divorce (considering his word was law) and used political figures to make it seem as if everything was done by the book and above board (2) Princess (or Lady) Mary became Queen of England following her succession and annulled the divorce by act of parliament (3) On Catherine of Aragon's tomb is Catherine, Queen of England (4) There was not one person (not a single solitary person) who could prove/disprove that the marriage between Prince Arthur and Princess Catherine had been consummated and (5) The Pope had granted Catherine of Aragon and Prince Henry two papal dispensations one on the grounds that the marriage had been consummated and one of the grounds that it had not and which gave Henry VIII the right to marry her. As a result, I believe posthumously we should review whether the King was legally married to six women or whether he had married six women and was only legally married to five. In my personal opinion, I don't think we should even include Princess Anne as having been a Queen Consort at all considering she later went on to be the King's sister. isn't that incestious? I realize that including her as a Queen Consort has historical precendence and that's why I don't mind her being among the list so much but shouldn't we debate in this article on whether or not she was legally the King's wife AT ALL!!

I can't directly explain why Anne of Cleves' tomb does not have her styled as 'Queen' or 'Queen of England'. But I think I can explain why the tombs of both Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn do. I think it may have a lot to do with both Mary I and Elizabeth I wanting to strengthen the legitimacy of their thrones -- not only through their father, Henry VIII, but through their mothers as well (especially in context of the recent War of the Roses, where legitimacy was a central issue). In this respect, of course both Mary I (daughter of Catherine) and Elizabeth I (daughter of Anne Boleyn) would have 'Queen' and/or 'Queen of England' on their mothers' tombs, further legitimizing their own reigns.
Anne of Cleves had no issue -- certainly no issue who became sovereign and saw to it that her tomb too identified her as 'Queen'. But both Anne and Mary I, her one-time step-daughter, were on good terms after Henry's death. Upon Anne's death, Mary could've styled her tomb as 'Queen', but didn't. Again, it makes sense, though, that Mary saw to it that her own mother's tomb was so styled. Elizabeth and her mother's tomb too. Still, puting the tombs aside, I think you made a good point about Anne of Cleves being styled Queen despite the annulment of her marriage to Henry.
About the comparison to Diana, though, only women born to the title can be styled 'Princess [Whatever]'. Upon marrying Charles, Diana was 'Princess of Wales', among other titles. Upon their divorce, she was no longer Princess of Wales or a princess, though people to this day still incorrectly call her 'Princess Diana'. Anne of Cleves was married to the King of England for several months and was addressed as 'Queen' throughout that period, though her marriage would come to be annulled. Again, I think you raised a good argument about whether or not she should be styled as 'Queen Anne of England'. But for a period she was. Technically, Diana was never 'Princess Diana', even when Princess of Wales. She was not born to that styled title. Darnold01 04:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Btw, please register and sign your comments. Darnold01 04:59, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
FYI all, please do sign your comments (by typing four tildes " ~ " after your post -- Wikipedia software will add your signature automatically).
However, it's not necessary to register and create an acount if you don't want to. If you don't have an account, "signing" will show your ISP number instead of an account name. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 15:14, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

From what I can tell, when you _die_ a queen (anne boleyn was still considered upon death, queen), but anne of cleves survived all other queens, and upon annulment, was no longer queen. Thus she was queen at one point, but the title did not remain permanently, and was not there in the time of her death. Her grave would not be marked with queen, where anne boleyn's grave was. cannon law or not. If someone were to get married and then divorced (nowadays), they strike the taken name and revert to the maiden name (under normal circumstances, for most emotionally-well women)....when they die, they don't get buried with the ex hubby's last name. Likewise, any titles that are honorary due to marriage are removed upon divorce. Thus this makes complete sense. Yes she was queen, but she did not die a queen. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:22, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

The after title currently on the page insists that her title was Her Highness Duchess Anne of Cleves. To my knowledge she did not become a "Duchess" in her own right; she wasn't granted that title by Henry and most certainly did not retain Her Royal Highness. She simply became Lady Anne of Cleves, the King's beloved sister. So I'm confused as to why that's in there and am going to take it out unless it can be proven. This goes for her original title. Also, she was not born a Duchess, Countess, or Lady of Ravenstein. -- Lady Meg (talk) 05:51, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Tidied up[edit]

I tidied thepage up as it had tags which made no sence all over the place, and you couldn't tell what was meant to be there and what was not as the tags displayed in the article

Marriage: Needs needs copy editing??[edit]

I'm finding this sequence confusing -

Motivated by the flattering painting he had received, Henry was quite impatient to see his future bride. He went to meet her at the water's edge when she arrived by boat. Their first night as husband and wife was not a happy one; within a few hours he came from the room and announced: "I like her not." Henry urged Cromwell to find a legal way to avoid the marriage but, by this point, evading the marriage was impossible without offending the Germans.

A doomed marriage

The two were married on 6 January 1540 at the royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, London by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, despite Henry's very vocal misgivings. If his bride had objections, she kept them to herself. The phrase “God send me well to keep” was engraved around Anne’s wedding ring.

I don't know anything about the marriage customs of Tudor royalty. This implies that "their first night as husband and wife" preceded their marriage, which I suppose but am not certain is incorrect. Can this be clarified? Thanks. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 15:06, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Now sorted. qp10qp (talk) 01:18, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Converted to Catholicism?[edit]

"Shortly before the wedding, Anne converted to Catholicism in order to please Henry." Why would that please Henry? The source for this appears to be Alison Weir; does she actually say that? Adam Bishop (talk) 07:03, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Weir says that Henry expected from Anne of Cleves to conform to the Catholic form of worship when she became Queen of England and that there is no evidence to show that she did otherwise. It surely wasn't so hard for her to switch to Catholicism, since she was raised by Catholic mother. I've changed the sentence to make it more clear. Surtsicna (talk) 12:02, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
But why? Did Henry still think he was Catholic? (Sorry, I guess everything I know about this comes from reading A Man For All Seasons in high school...reading some more articles suggests that's exactly what he thought...) Adam Bishop (talk)
Yes, Henry still considered himself Catholic, but not Roman Catholic. He was being prepared for clerical career before Arthur's death made him heir apparent, so it wasn't easy for him to abandon Catholic tradition. Katharine Parr almost ended up imprisoned because of her growing interest for Protestantism. However, I do not understand how Edward VI and Elizabeth I ended up being Protestant. I rember reading somewhere that he hired Protestants tutors for his children, but that doesn't sound convincing to me. Surtsicna (talk) 14:02, 18 January 2009 (UTC)
The present wording seems unobjectionable, though it may be superfluous. I certainly found the previous wording odd because "conversion" is not an appropriate term between Cleves and England, for their churches were both at a similar stage of evolution. Although Anne's sister had married into the Lutheran ducal family of Saxony, Cleves (Julich/Berg) was, like England, a reformist anti-Lutheran state. Technically, both states were catholic but not popish. As Scarisbrick puts it, the duke of Cleves "stood betwixt the new and the old, strongly under the influence of Erasmus, rather as Henry did himself".
I corrected a few inaccuracies in the article the other day, but it is a thin one that needs rewriting, in my opinion (it's on my list). The story of Anne of Cleves is particularly vulnerable to disinformation: historical traditions, plus the superficial treatments by popular historians such as Antonia Fraser and Alison Weir, have helped entrench a whole set of mistaken assumptions. One gets a radically different version of events from more scholarly historians such as G. W. Bernard and John Schofield. To whit: Cromwell did not engineer the marriage and did not fall because of it (his reluctance to organise the divorce was a factor but was not mentioned in the charges that led to his execution); Anne was moderately attractive and neither Holbein nor anyone else flattered her appearance. Henry's desire for a German alliance and his personal revulsion from Anne were the key to everything that happened. qp10qp (talk) 15:56, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Ignored by historians[edit]

Unfortunately, Anne has been ignored by scholars, historians, and romance writers alike, so there is really scanty interest in her, as compared to Henry's other wives. It's a pity as Anne merits more scholarly notice, especially as she outlived all of his consorts. I believe her last public appearance was in 1553 at Queen Mary's procession and coronation. Correct me if I'm wrong.--jeanne (talk) 07:19, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you - she was not significant in the politics of the era, but she doesn't deserve to be neglected. I am particulary interested in her life after the annulment. Most "biographies" of Anne of Cleves tell about the preparations for the wedding and about the marriage itself in details, but nothing is said about her life from the moment she ceases to be Queen of England until her death. I too have read somewhere that her last public appearance was at Queen Mary I's coronation. I'll try to find a source. Surtsicna (talk) 12:33, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Cause of Death[edit]

The article does't state what caused Anne's death. She died at the age of 42, so it wasn't old age that caused it.--jeanne (talk) 09:13, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Average life expectancy for the time: 40-50 years old. Just because it's not "old age" nowadays, doesn't mean it was a youthful age back then. -_- she was actually, for all intents and purposes, "old!" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:40, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

Life expectancy was shorter back then (and well into the early 20th century, the average lifespan was 40-50 years) due to many factors, including lack of antibiotics or proper sanitation, a poor diet, contaminated food and water, the prevalence of plague and other fatal epidemics, the practise of physicians, who often had unwashed hands, to bleed an ill patient literally to death, I could go on. Anne died at 42 years; the human body in the 16th century did not age quicker than it does today. Something other than the sweeping term old age was responsible for the extinction of the life of Anne of Cleves.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 10:04, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
In agreement, Anne's demise was likely a lack of medical know-now. I'm confident at 42, her hair wasn't snow white & natural causes was taking place. GoodDay (talk) 16:36, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
If a 42 year-old woman in the 16th-century was the equivalent of a modern day 80 year-old, then by that same reckoning Anne of Cleves would have reached puberty at the age of 6 or 7!--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 16:55, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, very few people reached 'senior age' back in those days. The enviroment was their enemy, not their own bodies. GoodDay (talk) 16:58, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
There is the rare case of Eleanor of Aquitaine who lived past 80. And she gave birth to her last child at 45! So this was obviously an example of a very healthy-and lucky woman. Back then, especially in the case of children and infants, it was survival of the fittest.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 17:02, 22 January 2010 (UTC)
Biographer Antonia Fraser states in The Wives of Henry VIII on page 412, that Anne probably died of cancer so I have put it in the article along with the ref to Fraser's book.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:54, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Alliance theory?[edit]

Within the article an interesting point is raised near the end concerning why the Cleves marriage failed:

“ Another theory suggests that shifts in a threatened Catholic French-Spanish alliance removed any diplomatic motivations for their union”

However Francis I and Charles V were still engaged in an alliance when Henry moved on to wife number five (Katherine Howard). Arguably his rejection of Anne was politically dangerous because he was not sure of securing an alliance with either Charles or Francis and he risked offending the Duke of Cleves who could have made advances towards Henry’s enemies. Eric Ives in his entry on Henry VIII on the Oxford DNB notes that open hostilities between Francis and Charles commenced in 1542 – so around two years after Henry and Anne’s annulment.

So is the alliance theory flawed? I understand though that as a theory raised by some historians it is useful to discuss within this article. --Little miss sunnydale (talk) 15:44, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Is this entry copied from the New World Encyclopedia?[edit]

Many parts of this article match almost word-for-word with the article in the New World Encyclopedia.

Is that a problem from Wikipedia's standpoint? Who decides, and what should be done about it?

MelanieN (talk) 16:00, 17 June 2009 (UTC)MelanieN

I think you'll find the New World Encyclopedia version is a copy of English Wikipedia, not the other way round. It does credit Wikipedia as the source at the bottom of the page! Skinsmoke (talk) 06:24, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Anne's Ancestors[edit]

The template list Bernhard I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg (with "page does not exist"), who, however, has a page following the Ascanian counting as Bernard II, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. I suggest to correct the link.

Best wishes, --Ulf Heinsohn (talk) 14:22, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


The article claims that Henry was pressured briefly to remarry Anne but refused. I have never heard this before? When did this happen? Also Anne and Henry were close right up until he died and he was said to have grown fond of her but I never heard rumor of a second marriage occured? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

After the annulment

There's a mistake here, isn't there? It's contended that one of the reasons that the former queen remained in England was that both of her parents were dead by the time her marriage was annulled, but it is apparent on the face of the article that her mother did not die until 1543, which was a year after Anne's successor as queen was decapitated. (Anne's father died before she was married.) --Cato the Younger (talk) 12:07, 15 July 2011 (UTC)

Latin for "two wet dreams"[edit]

The article had "duas pollitiones nocturnas in somno (She is so smelly I can't sleep)." The Latin itself might be poorly transcribed -- I went ahead and changed it to 'insomno' instead of 'in somno' since if he was 'in somno' that would mean he had been asleep. I think the translation is not very precise though (it was probably done from Latin to Japanese then Japanese to English.) Can anyone with better Latin give it a try, or else someone else who has access to the quotation?-- (talk) 03:41, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
"Not very precise" is an understatement. The meaning is as follows: 'Henry said he was not impotent since he experienced "duas pollutiones nocturnas in somno" (two nocturnal emissions in dreams; i.e., two wet dreams).' While talking to his doctor about his inability to consummate his marriage with Anne, Henry asserts that he is still virile, perhaps speaking in Latin to help cover his shame. Boppet (talk) 04:07, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

Flanders Mare?[edit]

This article really ought to confirm or correct the old anecdote that Henry said she looked like a Flanders Mare, in contrast to how Holbein had portrayed her. (talk) 15:16, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

Anne's son by Henry[edit]

While I agree with Merlinme, I should note that the rumour was not made up (i.e. the rumour itself actually existed). Just a few days ago, I was looking for information about Eleanor Manners, Countess of Rutland, when I stumbled upon an original report to Henry VIII about his former wife's supposed childbirth. I recall the report dismissing it as "slander", but I had no idea that the info on the rumour was already in the article and that somebody would tag it as unsourced (which it is). I'll try to find it. Meanwhile, I hope the information will not be removed on the ground of being unsourced. Surtsicna (talk) 17:12, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Henry's death?[edit]

Did Henry die somewhere in the "After the annulment" period? I think it should be mentioned if so. Barnswallownest (talk) 21:16, 28 July 2013 (UTC)