Anne of Cleves was Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Anne was from the small north German state of Cleves. Her brother, William, ruled Cleves but realised that his sister's marriage to the king of England would greatly enhance his status.
After the divorce of Catherine, the execution of Anne and the early death of Jane, few noble women in England were willing to marry Henry. To many he appeared tainted and marriage to him seemed to come with a price. After a period of mourning, Henry sent men around western Europe to seek out a new wife for him. They were instructed to bring back portraits of the women they believed Henry would be interested in. Anne of Cleves was chosen from one such portrait.
The marriage took place on January 6th 1540 – despite the protests of Henry. Their marriage was a farce. Anne came to realise that Henry had no wish to be married to her. She quickly realised that her life may well have been in danger if she put up any opposition to a divorce. She agreed to an annulment – much to Henry’s delight. This was granted in July 1540....
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