Anne of Cleves
(1540). Anne of Cleves was Queen of England from 6 January to 9 July 1540 as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Not much is known about Anne before 1527, when Anne became betrothed to Francis, Duke of Bar, son and heir of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, although their marriage was never accomplished. In March 1539, negotiations for Anne's marriage to Henry began, as Henry believed that he needed to form a political alliance with her brother, William, who was a leader of the Protestants of western Germany, to strengthen his position against potential attacks from Catholic France and the Holy Roman Empire. Anne arrived in England on 27 December 1539 and married Henry on 6 January 1540. However after six months, the marriage was declared unconsummated and, as a result, she was not crowned queen consort. Following the annulment, she was given a generous settlement by the King, and thereafter referred to as the King's Beloved Sister. She lived to see the coronation of Queen Mary I, outliving the rest of Henry's wives. Anne was born in 1515, on either 22 September, or more probably 28 June. She was born in Düsseldorf, the second daughter of John III of the House of La Marck, Duke of Jülich jure uxoris, Cleves, Berg jure uxoris, Count of Mark, also known as de la Marck and Ravensberg jure uxoris who died in 1538, and his wife Maria, Duchess of Julich-Berg. She grew up in Schloss Burg on the edge of Solingen. Anne's father was influenced by Erasmus and followed a moderate path within the Reformation. He sided with the Schmalkaldic League and opposed Emperor Charles V. After John's death, Anne's brother William became Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, bearing the promising epithet The Rich. In 1526, her elder sister Sibylle was married to John Frederick, Elector of Saxony, head of the Protestant Confederation of Germany and considered the Champion of the Reformation. At the age of 11, Anne was betrothed to Francis, son and heir of Antoine, Duke of Lorraine while he was only 10. Thus the betrothal was considered unofficial and was cancelled in 1535. Her brother William was a Lutheran but the family was unaligned religiously with her mother, the Duchess Maria, described as a strict Catholic. The Duke's ongoing dispute over Gelderland with Emperor Charles V made them suitable allies for England's King Henry VIII in the wake of the Truce of Nice. The match with Anne was urged on the King by his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. The artist Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to Düren to paint portraits of Anne and her younger sister, Amalia, each of whom Henry was considering as his fourth wife. Henry required the artist to be as accurate as possible, not to flatter the sisters. The two versions of Holbein's portrait are in the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Another 1539 portrait, by the school of Barthel Bruyn the Elder, is in the collection of Trinity College, Cambridge. Negotiations with Cleves were in full swing by March 1539. Cromwell oversaw the talks and a marriage treaty was signed on 4 October of that year. Henry valued education and cultural sophistication in women, but Anne lacked these. She had received no formal education but was skilled in needlework and liked playing card games. She could read and write, but only in German. Nevertheless, Anne was considered gentle, virtuous and docile, which is why she was recommended as a suitable candidate for Henry. Anne was described by the French ambassador, Charles de Marillac, as tall and slim, of middling beauty and of very assured and resolute countenance. She was fair haired and was said to have had a lovely face. In the words of the chronicler Edward Hall, Her hair hanging down, which was fair, yellow and long. she was apparelled after the English fashion, with a French hood, which so set forth her beauty and good visage, that every creature rejoiced to behold her. She appeared rather solemn by English standards, and looked old for her age. Holbein painted her with high forehead, heavy-lidded eyes and a pointed chin. Henry met her privately on New Year's Day 1540 at Rochester Abbey in Rochester on her journey from Dover. Henry and some of his courtiers, following a courtly-love tradition, went disguised into the room where Anne was staying.