The Tudor Society

Anne of Cleves Part 1 – September 1539 to 6 January 1540.

As tomorrow is the anniversary of Henry VIII's fourth marriage, his marriage to Anne of Cleves, I thought I'd start a series of Claire Chats video talks on the marriage.

The book I mention by Retha Warnicke is The Marrying of Anne of Cleves: Royal Protocol in Early Modern England.

For my talk on Twelfth Night and Epiphany, go to

Here are links to parts 2 and 3:


There are 4 comments Go To Comment

  1. S

    I really enjoyed this video, Claire, and thank you for doing it. I’m looking forward to the next one. Anne of Cleves is a very interesting person in this time period for me. The fact that we don’t know very much about her before she married Henry VIII makes her that much more intriguing. If Henry hadn’t been quite as impulsive in surprising her with his dressing up in a costume, he might have had a warmer reception from Anne, and it might have gone better if he had stayed away until she arrived and was greeted properly. Anne of Cleves seems like someone who was very proper with her own behavior, but who could also enjoy a nice time, I agree that she would have made a good queen consort for Henry, and it’s too bad that things between the two of them got off to a rough start. I’m anxious to learn more about her.

    1. C - Post Author

      Thank you, Sandra, part 2 is live on the site now. I find it frustrating that nobody intervened and just whispered in Anne’s ear to let her in on what was happening so that she could react accordingly.

  2. M

    I kind of think it wouldn’t have worked put, even if he’d never gone to Rochester. I think he would not have liked her “person” . I think this Rochester business played a part, but think he would have had the same thought about her looks, her smells, etc… I think it’s a shame. The poor woman wanted to be queen, was raised to be a queen (though it sounds like her education was not sophisticated. ) I like her, I find her incredibly brave, gracious, kind.

    1. R

      I am not convinced with Henry’s version of what happened at Rochester because he stayed there over night and dined with Anne the next day and had breakfast with her as well. He left his gifts with her. The most reliable source is a chronicle which gives us a lot more detail than the pantomime version of him turning up, she didn’t recognise him so he made a bit of polite conversation and left and had a good moan. I am sure Henry found reasons to try and get out of the marriage and annul it but they had nothing to do with him finding Anna unattractive. You are right, Henry should not have gone to Rochester, but there is more to his reasons about this marriage than a fatal encounter. Henry could not consummate the marriage and he fell for pretty Katherine Howard and the political situation changed making the marriage no longer viable. The Council told Cromwell what the King wanted when he was in the Tower and he complied as did others who signed a document that Henry had told them he disliked her and was not able to consummate the marriage, even having tried for several nights.

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Anne of Cleves Part 1 – September 1539 to 6 January 1540.