23 Comments

  1. The Tudors mini series was so rife with inaccuracies that I couldn’t watch much of it.

    Anne of Cleves legal counsel had done a fabulous job of making sure the marriage contract would benefit her. Henry had little choice but to treat her well, and she, as the king’s “sister” had great freedom and wealth at her disposal. Her stepchildren were another great incentive to stay in England.

    • Jane Darcy

      Me too!! I got half way through episode 1 and then have u on it. Total rubbish. Even the costumes were inaccurate, let alone the characters and storyline.

  2. Hans van Felius

    Why would Anne of Cleves remain in England? Well, perhaps the question should be: why would she wish to return to Cleves? By staying in England she was to some extent mistress in her own household. Returning to Cleves would mean a much lower state, and the question what politics would mean to her. Being sent to yet another court? Another husband?
    And had she given birth to a son, Henry’s son, that would have been the reason why she was sent to England. Wouldn’t have Henry just loved that??

  3. I don’t know very why Anne of Cleves remained in
    England. She had to figure it out, her husband was
    A womanizer. He remarried Shorty after the annulment of their marriage. If I had been her, I
    Wouldn’t have stayed in a country where I was going to be treated as a sister. Maybe Anne would
    Have had to be subject to her brother if she had
    Returned home to Cleves.

    • Anne had no family in England. She was at the b
      good graces of Henry VIII and his family.

      Why didn’t she return to Cleves for a visit if she was
      Home Sick. She must have figured Henry VIII out.

      He lied to her. Shortly after the annulment he married a child bride, Catherine Howard??? If he had done me, that way, I would have been glad to
      Leave England, but I’m not a woman.

      • Catalina Monti di Oro

        Anne of Cleves stayed in England for a number of reasons, I believe. I believe that maybe, she did not like Cleves. That she was glad to be away from Cleves. Apparently her mother and brother were very strict and in England as her own mistress, she had freedom, like very few women at that time had. She only had to be wed a short time and then she was free with large properties, Richmond and Hever Castle to call her own and the favour of King Henry the Eight and she got on with Mary the First and Edward the Sixth and Elizabeth. She loved them and they loved her. She was welcomed at Court when she came to Court and she was allowed to remain on her estates if she wished. She could do as she pleased. If she wished to come to Court, she came. If she wished to remain on her estates, there she remained. It must have been nice to be able to do what she wished, when she wished. It would not have been like that in Cleves. No, she had no reason to go back to Cleves.

  4. Jane Darcy

    I think Henry wd have received organised a second son (and children) if Anne had had children with him. He was always on the look out for sons so I doubt he had any with Anne.
    Re sex with Henry, it’s possible but who knows……
    Interesting article.

  5. Candia Harland

    Henry Might have slept with Anne, He may not have… I don’t think Anne of Cleves had any children with Henry. I believe that she stayed in England because she wanted to. Henry gave her a home, Ladies to wait on her.No.. I think she wanted to make England her home.

  6. EILEEN OLEARY

    It would have been humiliating for Anne to return to Cleves as the “rejected wife”. I think she found life in England rather pleasant, and especially so if all she had to do was play cards once in a while with that grotesque, ill tempered ex-husband of hers!

  7. Jan

    Why would she return to Cleves and be under the thumb of her brother? She had it made in England. Estates of her own and plenty of money in a time when women were subject to men and not many were in control of their futures. AND, from all that I have read, she and Henry were now great friends. What more could she want????

  8. Nichole Johnson

    I have read several books with Anne of Clever, and have gathered that her brother treated her horribly, and with zero respect afforded a sister by blood. Perhaps that fact had alot to do with her living out her life in England.

  9. Lee Morgan

    Returning to Cleves may not have been a simple option for Anne. By returning, who knows who she might have been married off to next? In her time noble daughter’s lives & futures were not their own & they were casually bought & sold to the highest bidders to extend estates and grant power to the men in their families. They were seen a commodity and valuable asset.
    By remaining in England Anne had title, status and wealth and a large estate that was very rare for women at the time. She also enjoyed a place at court and the King’s friendship. It seems to me that she made her choice (if it was truly her choice to make and not made for her) to go with what was a more certain and safe future. She most likely would have felt very fortunate to have any say in the matter at all.
    Anne had no need to marry again as she had her own money so she could live a very comfortable life without dependence on a man or his family. (Sounds like a reasonable choice to me.)
    With regard to the suggestion that Anne may have had a child by Henry, I find it odd that there seems no real mention of anyone asking Anne directly. This suggests that it was viewed as harmful gossip rather than potential fact. Why would the King not simply have sent someone to her house, search for this child and question her? Sounds more like he knew the truth.

  10. Lynn Sabin

    I apologize for this coming rather late, I hope it finds the author of this most informative essay.

    From my research, I do not believe Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves consummated their marriage, nor do I believe they shared intimacies of a sexual nature post divorce. For all his faults, Henry remained devout and to have had relations with proclaimed “sister” would have been incredible, even to Henry. This and the legal argument sustaining the initial divorce would have precluded any potential reconciliation.

    The inference you derive from Henry’s concerns about Anne’s having his child are legitimate, but can be explained easily without supposing Henry’s thinking the child was his. Rumors of Anne’s pregnancy and subsequent childbirth, even though Henry knew the child not to be his own would be a huge concern. Had Anne birthed the child of another man and succeeding rumors gained sufficient traction it would have called into question the line of succession.

    No where in the citations does it indicate that Henry believed the alleged child was his, only that he was concerned. And I posit such concern would have been entirely well placed.

    Let us also consider this contextually; Henry’s current wife, Katherine, was accused of sleeping with Thomas Culpepper — serious enough — but more so had she become pregnant, for how would legitimacy of the child have been established. And therein lies the real crime in her adultery. With this in mind, I think we can better understand Henry’s pushing for a thorough investigation into the alleged pregnancy of Anne of Cleves.

  11. Jenny

    Hi From all that I know about Henry VIII I find it really hard to believe that he slept with Anne. He didn’t like her and I’m sure he had no sexual interest in her at all. So no children

  12. I think, Henry VIII never slept with Anne. Their first encounter went terribly wrong and he decided that Anne was physically unattractive. He said even some quite mean things about her and the marriage was not consummated. The arrangement of the marriage was even one of the aspects that brought Thomas Cromwell out of favour and led in parts to his downfall. If Henry VIII’s wanted to sleep with a woman, he could pick any from his court, so I do not think that he was desperate enough to turn to Anne. As to why she stayed in England, I also think it was much more comfortable for her to stay. She was her own mistress and she had a financial income from the royal household. That made her quite an independent woman as she could do whatever she liked and was free to move. A rare thing at that time. Why go back to Cleves and loose that freedom. She was also surrounded by her ladies and friends, was close to the royal children. To me it sounds quite a comfortable life for a woman in Tudor times.

  13. arom mercer

    Anne of Cleve never bore Henry VIII a child. The whole reason their marriage was dissolved was because Henry couldn’t consummate the marriage. Henry couldn’t stomach to intimately touch Anne, who he believed was never a virgin. Anne stayed in England as a condition of her position at court. Being the king’s sister, Anne had to cut ties with her brother and all correspondence inspected. Anne might have been afraid what her brother would do to her if she ever returned.

  14. Miss Kitty

    Ive had a thought maybe Henry didnt want to shell out money to Anne of Cleves maybe he was hoping the charges she was pregnant were true so he could chop her head off which he seems to like doing to people who annoyed him and she did upset him previously im not sure if it would have affected the succession if she had a son with someone else
    maybe just very embarrassing for him

  15. sue

    I have read Anne considered herself Henry’s true wife for the rest of her life. Why if the marriage was never consummated. Isn’t it curious she appears to have had no other romances or men in her life after the divorce despite being one of the wealthiest women in England? Not if you believed yourself already married. Imagine her positon, a stranger in a foreign country married to a tyrant with a habit of killing his wives. Once she realized the way the wind was blowing with Katherine Howard, she might have decided I will say whatever he wants me to say to stay alive. Another curious point is that he forbade her to leave England after the divorce and would not allow her return to Cleves until after he died. Was it because she might say the marriage was consummated and cause a diplomatic incident? Finally, if she did become pregnant there are sound reasons for her to hide it. Yes, Henry would have exalted her to the heavens if she had a son. But what if the child was a girl. She would be tied to a man who was very mercurial and made it plain he did not love her. I would not want to be in her positon. Its all speculation but its worth a novel or two.

  16. Banditqueen

    Anne of Cleves was rumoured to be with child and there was a major concern from Catherine Howard that Henry would leave her and go back to Anne. This was due to his regular visits to Anne at Hever and his depression and removal of himself from Catherine for a month in 1541. However, he soon put an end to the rumours and Anne was not pregnant. She was treated well by Henry and given several homes and two palaces as well as a good income. She supped with Henry and Catherine at New Year 1541 and sent four horses to the new young Queen. Anne greeted her former Maid on her knees and showed her due honour. She danced with them both later on and was their guest. Anne decided to remain in England because she was happy and she had close ties to all of Henry’s children. Although her life was made uneasy under Edward, she was good friends with Mary. A short period of friction came but was resolved and no, Anne of Cleves was not a Lutheran. Along with her mother and sisters she was raised a Catholic and remained one. She is the only one of the Six Queens buried in Westminster Abbey.

  17. William Chalfant 1541 is listed by GENI as my 13th great grandfather….William Would be the fostered childe of Margaret Artbroke and William Chalfant Stewards at Widsor Castle for generations. They are 3rd or 4th cousins to Elizabeth Blount mother of Henry Fitzroy and Elizabeth Tailboys. Both are listed by Geni as my 4th cousins. The reason my father chose my mother as his bride was her descent from William Chalfant 1541 and his descent from the Children of Ethelralda Maulte. We 7 Nebraska children of Samuel Gordon Rice 1887 and Mildred Cookston 1910 bare unusual likeness to the this double line descent from the Tudors. Dopple Gangers include Henry II of France Louis Valois VIIII King of France, 2 of us share the face of Henry VIII and a sister of Elizabeth Tailboys our 4th cousin. D. Charles Rice 1948 of the Nebraska Rices

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