This day in Tudor history, 22nd September 1515, is the traditional birthdate of Anne of Cleves, or Anna von Jülich-Kleve-Berg, a woman who would become King Henry VIII's fourth wife and queen consort, but only for six months!
She may have only been queen for six months, but Anne of Cleves outlived Henry and all of his wives, and seems to have had a very good life.
Find out more about her and how she came to be Henry VIII's queen in today's talk.
Also on this day in history:
- 1544 – Death of James Nedeham, architect, while accompanying King Henry VIII to Boulogne. He was buried in Boulogne at the church of Our Lady, and a monument was erected to him at the church in Little Wymondley, Hertfordshire. Nedeham worked for Cardinal Wolsey on York Place, and then for the King on Hampton Court Palace, the Jewel House at the Tower of London and St Augustine's in Canterbury.
- 1557 – Death of Robert Steward, Prior and Dean of Ely, at Ely. He was buried in Ely Cathedral.
- 1557 – Death of Robert Warton, Bishop of Hereford. He was buried in Hereford Cathedral, in the north-east transept.
- 1560 – Burial of Amy Dudley (née Robsart), wife of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, at St Mary's, Oxford.
- 1610 – Burial of Puritan politician and author Sir Francis Hastings at North Cadbury Church in Somerset, next to his wife. Hastings was a member of Parliament and Sheriff in Leicestershire during Elizabeth I's reign, and is known for his Puritan pamphlets, which included “A Watch-Word to All Religious, and True Hearted English-Men”.
Heather R Darsie has the correct date of birth for Anne of Cleves as 28th June 1515,_arguing this fits better with the information around the births of the other children, especially William, Anne’s younger brother, what we know of the requirements for confinement for noble women and she also pointed out in her biography that no contemporary evidence supported this date of today, 22nd September but this is supposed by modern authors. Heather puts forward a contemporary German source for the June date.
The Chronicle of Johan Wassenberch is cited, although Heather also pointed out in her biography that the archives don’t have any official information on Anna’s date of birth.
If Anna got £4000 a year, several palaces and houses, just imagine what Katherine of Aragon would have been able to command had she agreed to an annulment. This settlement proves that Henry could still be generous to those who complied with his wishes. I know Katherine had a lot more at stake, 24 years as Queen, her conviction that her first marriage wasn’t valid, her calling to be Queen, her coronation and the future of her daughter as the heir to the throne; Anna had been Queen for six months only, but it was to her detriment that she refused. Anna was a valuable bride because of the rich lands she could inherit and the balance of power, the United Duchies held in German political influence, but when the Empire moved on them over Gelders Anna became less valuable to England who were dangerously on the edge of being drawn into the Cleves- Imperial wars.
Katherine was the daughter of the Catholic Majesties of Spain and Aunt to Charles, Holy Roman Emperor: her portion would surely have been grand had she agreed to an annulment or retirement. Even retiring to a religious organisation would have afforded her dignity and a good living. Anna may not have been happy to see her status as Queen ended as she was happy as Queen, but she accepted what was a generous and comfortable offer because she was shrewd enough to realise she had no choice. Katherine was a bit unrealistic, especially after Henry married Anne Boleyn and I always feel for her at this time, ending her life in exile, unable to see her beloved daughter, Mary. Maybe Anna had the common sense the others appear to have missed.
Yes, I like Anne of Cleves, too. She is fascinating.
But I wonder why Amalia never married. Why Duke Wilhelm never married her off?