Anne of Cleeves is betrothed to an idiot.
Anne was Henrys fourth wife and without a shadow of any doubt by far the luckiest. She was a young girl from Germany who had been promised to the Duke of Lorraine at the age of 12, but that all fell through and eventually she found herself in the Tudor Court.
This was all set up by a man called Thomas Cromwell, who was Henry’s BFF, but we will get to him in good time.
In the year 1537 Henry’s most favourite wife Jane Seymour died of Pleural fever (which was basically septicaemia or child-bed fever as it was known back in the day). Pleural fever was pretty much down to shit midwives and dirty septic stuff at childbirth, (that and a dose of the odd placental remains left in the mothers uterus).
Henry stayed single and alone growing more and more cantankerous for 2 years after her death. This isn’t really all that surprising when you consider his situation: he was 3 wives in, with only 1 male heir, (who to be honest was a bit weak and sickly), it was starting to look like his lack of children despite his shagging any and every maid at court, was down to his knob-rot and not his wives. To cap this off the one wife he actually gave a shit about had taken the piss and died before she had time to annoy him sufficiently and be executed. Cromwell decided to get him a new wife. A pretty young protty that would give him a son and make him a bit less of a miserable old cunt. Enter Anne of cleeves, aged 24.
In 1539 Cromwell had heard about these hot two Young girls of the Duke of Cleeves. He was a protestant too and since Henry had ripped the country apart two wives previously in order to bend it up Anne Boleyn, he didn’t have many friends outside of Rome. By marrying a girl of Cleeves he could form some powerful allies away from the Catholic Church. Anne was good loyal girl when Henry sent his favourite painter Hans Holbein to paint her and her sister Amelia. He wanted to pick them from their pictures and guarantee he got the fittest of the sisters. Much too Anne’s dismay (and with a little influence from Cromwell), Anne was chosen.
Now whilst it’s every girls dream to be classed as the most gorgeous lady about, particularly over your sister, you can’t help but feel sorry for and and think that actually Amelia, who was apparently the less attractive of the two, actually got the better deal as she was spared the mess that was Henry.
Cromwell took the pictures to Henry and laid it on a bit thick. Henry wasn’t in any frame of mind to be marrying after the death of his much beloved Jane but is privy council were just like ‘well you need to get your knob doing some work and filling some cradles and if this doesn’t work out we’ll just get another’, so that was Henry and Anne’s betrothal in the bag. Now Although today is The anniversary of the betrothal, (or more specifically the day the Duke of Cleeves signed his daughter over to a fat Lecherous old man), it would be a shame to end the story there so let’s take a look what happened next.
Anne’s boat was late to arrive in England due to the shit weather and she was holed up in Calais for ages, tired and fed up. When she eventually did arrive in England she was taken to Rochester to rest up before travelling onward to London, to eventually meet the King. Henry however had other ideas and being the ‘trickster’ he was he was going to dress as a tramp, barge in on Anne at Rochester and surprise her. Bear in mind Anne had never even seen a picture of Henry so had no idea what he looked like. What could go wrong?!
So off he went to surprise Anne. Dressed like a bell end, he jumped out on her at court. Anne was not impressed at all, didn’t bow and recoiled from him, as you would if a strange tramp tried to grab you. Henry went wild with rage from the embarrassment that he had been made to look, (or rather made himself look), like a complete twat. How could she not find the fact that she was a) marrying King of the hobo’s, b) at the command of her dad, and c) have the impossible task of procreating with this prick hysterical? I often catch myself wondering this.
The king being one spoiled little bastard took umbrage at this and decided that he didn’t like the first woman ever to not instantly piss her side open at the Kings wank japes. Henry then went into the mother of all tantrums, acting like a mardy teenager calling Anne a Flanders mare, (the best insult he could come up with). Henry was mortified with their first meeting and decided that he wasn’t all that into Anne, but it was tough shit, stuff had been sorted for their wedding and he was just going to have to suck it up. Being betrothed in those days was as good as married, so the marriage went ahead the following January.
On their wedding night Henry came to Anne’s chambers to consummate the marriage. He couldn’t though. His knob wouldn’t work. This was obviously Anne’s fault so a few weeks later she was told to leave court. Annes dismissal from court obviously had nothing to do with the fact that by now Henry was already poking his rancid cock into the young Katherine Howard, who was 34 years his junior and brought to court as eye candy for the king whilst serving as Anne’s lady in waiting.
Henry felt humiliated by his lack of performance with Anne so had done the honourable thing and blamed her because she was so repulsive to him. What a dick Henry was. He could not kill her off cos she had done nothing wrong, but had the marriage annulled anyway based on her previous betrothal to the Duke of Lorraine, (remember I said betrothal was as good as marriage? well that’s the rule he used…that and the fact that he had decided he wanted to marry Katherine Howard).
Henry paid Anne a shit load of cash and gave her a tonne of houses to fuck off and stay quiet. He also agreed to refer to her as ‘the Kings sister’ making her the second most important woman in the country after any new queen Henry decided to take. Anne had a lucky escape. She became good friends with her step daughter Mary, had bagged herself a load of wealth and had escaped Henry VIII relatively unscathed, (aside from her first time with a man resulting in having a fat useless cockwomble rub his floppy rotten bell end on her). Life after Henry came and went for Anne, and at one point there was talk of a second betrothal to him but luckily that fell on its arse and she had her second lucky escape. Anne was reportedly an amazing woman: she looked after her servants well and treated everyone with kindness and regard. She outlived Henry and eventually reverted back to Catholicism under the reign of her step daughter and best bud Mary Tudor. She was the only one of Henrys wives to have avoided penetration by Henry’s rancid man member and yet also the only one to be graced with the honour of burial at Westminster Abbey.
And what of Cromwell? Well Henry had him executed for bringing him a ‘minger’ to court…Im surprised you had to ask.
You can read about life for Anne after Henry here: https://thetudorials.com/2015/07/16/july-16th-1557-anne-of-cleeves-death-and-life-after-henry/
and also about Henry’s fall out with Cromwell here:https://thetudorials.com/2015/06/10/10th-june-1540-a-massive-fall-out/