Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Wedding of Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves must have been extremely nervous.  She was marrying a much older King, who had become fat and unattractive, and she knew the fates of Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.  She also knew little about the facts of life.

Henry VIII didn't want to go through with the marriage at all.  Impressed by Holbein's portrait of a pretty blonde, he couldn't wait to meet Anne.  However, the real Anne disappointed him.  He complained that she wasn't nearly as blonde or as pretty as she was in Holbein's portrait.

The wedding took place in the Queen's Closet at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich on Twelfth Night (January 6), 1540.  Archbishop Cranmer married the royal couple. Anne, who behaved demurely and sweetly, wore a gown of cloth of gold embroidered with pearls and a coronet of rich gems and pearls.  The rosemary in her hair symbolised remembrance and constancy.  Her long blonde hair was untied to represent virginity.  Henry also looked very grand in a gown of cloth of gold decorated with silver flowers and a satin coat tied with large diamonds.

 After the wedding, the couple attended the Mass of the Trinity.  They then enjoyed a lavish wedding feast of spices and sweet meats. The marriage was disappointing for Henry and Anne, however.  According to Henry, he could hardly bear to touch Anne, and she was surprised when he kissed her on the forehead and rolled over after the first night. The marriage was never consummated, and it only lasted six months.  It delighted Henry that Anne readily consented to a divorce, and he gave her a large settlement, including an annual allowance, a house in Lewes, Hever Castle and several luxurious possessions.

1 comment:

Hels said...

I believe the reason Henry didn't want to go through with the marriage was her body odour was not to his liking and because Holbein had indeed stretched the truth in his portrait. Which only goes to show - noone knows that they are going to like in the flesh, despite photos, paintings, chat rooms or any other way of connecting.

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