The Tudor Society
  • Amalia of Cleves, sister of Anne of Cleves, by Heather R. Darsie

    After just over six months of marriage, on 9 July 1540, Anna von Kleve, more commonly known as Anne of Cleves, was divorced from Henry VIII of England. As part of her reward for acquiescing so easily to Henry’s request, she would forever after be known in England as the Daughter of Cleves and Henry’s sister, though she signed letters to her brother as “Anna, born Duchess of Cleves,” or a variation thereof.

    Anna was gifted many properties, including Chelsea and Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Anna maintained a relationship not only with Henry but also with his daughters Mary and Elizabeth. Anna would go on to live the rest of her life in England before dying at the age of 41. She never returned to the Holy Roman Empire, parts of which comprised most of what we know today as Germany.

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  • Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever – Conor Byrne

    Henry VIII’s six wives are as popular as ever. In the 2016 History Hot 100 recently compiled by BBC History Magazine, no less than four of the notorious Tudor king’s consorts featured. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, wife number two Anne Boleyn finished highest, at number 4. Katherine Parr came in at number 31, Katherine of Aragon at 36, and Anne of Cleves at 38.

    Tudormania, as coined by a Guardian article, is pervasive. The general public and historians alike cannot get enough of the Tudors. But our obsession with this colourful dynasty, by and large, centres on a handful of characters that dominate films, novels and articles. This confinement of our focus is starkly revealed in the Hot 100: the top Tudor figures are, unsurprisingly, Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell.

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  • Sibylle, the Other Daughter of Cleves by Heather R. Darsie

    Sibylle von Kleve was born on 17 January 1512 and eventually became older sister to Anna von Kleve, more commonly known as Anne of Cleves or Henry VIII’s fourth wife, in 1515. Sibylle, the eldest of Maria von Julich-Berg’s children with Duke Johann von Kleve, was elevated to the station of Electress Consort through her marriage to Johann Friedrich I, the Elector of Saxony, in 1527.

    As Electress of Saxony, Sibylle enjoyed a fruitful marriage with Johann Friedrich and had four sons, three of whom survived to adulthood. Sibylle was known as a great beauty, as can be seen from her engagement portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder from 1526 (left hand portrait). Her long, golden-brown hair is loose and flowing about her shoulders. Lucas Cranach the Elder and his workshop would go on to produce many portraits of Sibylle and her family, including one finished in 1531, when Sibylle was 29. In the 1531 portrait of Sibylle (right hand portrait), we see that she likely plucked back her hairline, as was fashionable in the period as a high forehead showed that a woman was of noble bearing and intelligent.

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  • Anne of Cleves video – Was she ugly?

    In today’s Claire Chats I look at the evidence regarding Henry VIII’s claims that Anne of Cleves was unattractive and the origin of the “Flanders Mare” label.

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  • Happy 500th Birthday, Anna! by Heather R. Darsie

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 500ten Geburtstag, Anna! Anna von Kleve, most widely known as Anne of Cleves or Henry VIII’s fourth wife, was born on either 201 or 22 September 1515. Anna was born in Düsseldorf, the second daughter out of four children. She lived at her father’s court until late 1539, when Anna moved to England to become Henry VIII’s fourth queen.

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  • Gloriana and the Green Ruby by Heather R. Darsie

    Gloriana, Elizabeth I, is the famous Virgin Queen of England. She never took a husband. Much speculation has swirled around Elizabeth’s decision to remain single. Several tragic, if not traumatic, events are cited as reasons why Elizabeth chose not to marry.

    Elizabeth was born on 7 September 1533. On 19 May 1536, when Elizabeth was not quite three years of age, her mother, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded by order of her father. Elizabeth, a precocious child, asked following the fall of her mother, “how haps it governor, yesterday my Lady Princess, today but my Lady Elizabeth?”. Elizabeth’s first step-mother, Jane Seymour, died of puerperal fever in 1537 only days after giving birth to Elizabeth’s little half-brother. Elizabeth was four years old. Katherine Howard, a cousin of Elizabeth’s on her mother’s side and Elizabeth’s third step-mother, was beheaded for high treason for her “dissolute life previous to her marriage” in February 1542. Elizabeth was eight years old.

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