Anne of Cleves

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Anne of Cleves, Queen Consort as played by Joss Stone
German name : Anna von Jülich-Kleve-Berg
Motto: "God send me well to keep"

born September 22, 1515 - died July 16, 1557
Queen Consort January 6 - July 9, 1540
(6 months)
Character's backstory: Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, served the least amount of time as any of his queens. Cromwell promoted the allaince with a Protestant house as a counterbalance to the power of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.Although Cleves was a member of the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant Princes under the sway of Saxony, Anne herself, raised by a strict Catholic mother, the Duchess Maria, may also have been Roman Catholic, although her father, Duke John had reformist tendencies and her brother, Duke William, was Protestant. At any rate, Anne was Roman Catholic at her death. Anne was suggested to Henry by Thomas Cromwell in hopes of creating a Protestant alliance. Anne was doomed after a disastrous first meeting with Henry (who came to meet her in one of his disguises), in which she did not rise to greet him because she did not recognize him as the King of England. It is rumored as well that he kissed her while in disguise and that she rejected his kiss. Whatever the insult, Henry claimed to find her unattractive and claimed that he was unable to consummate the marriage. Many historians agree that severe obesity, infirmity, and age caused Henry to be impotent and unable to perform the act. In exchange for agreeing to end the marriage, Anne was granted the manors of Hever, former home of Anne Boleyn) , and Bletchingly, 3,000 or 4,000 pounds a year, as well as precedence over all women of the court save only for his current and any future daughters and his wife, as a settlement. She also requested and was granted the privilege of having Elizabeth,for whom she had come to have a motherly affection, visit her. she outlived Henry and all of his wives and died honoured and loved in the reign of Mary I who commanded that she be buried as a Queen in Westminster Abbey.

Gentility: Nobility; sister of the Duke of Cleves - a west German Duchy.

Position: Queen Consort of England & then Honorary "sister" to the King.

Personality type:
Ill suited to life in the English court since her upbringing has concentrated on domestic skills and not the music and literature which was so popular with the King & his court. But she enjoyed English ale and gambling.

Signature look:
Before Henry met her,the
English ambassador, Christopher Mont reported that, ‘She excelleth the Duchess [[[Christina of Denmark]], Duchess of Milan - a renowned beauty], as the golden sun excelleth the silvern moon.’
She was described by the French ambassador Marillac, as tall and thin, "of middling beauty, with a determined and resolute countenance."
Hall's 'Chronicles' describes Anne at her wedding as : "apparelled in a gown of rich cloth of gold set full of large flowers of great and Orient Pearl...her hair hanging down, which was fair, yellow and long" goes on to say her costume "so set forth her beauty and good visage, that every creature rejoiced to behold her" (apart from her husband it seems)

Though unfairly characterized by many as Henry's "ugly wife" because of his dismissal of her, Anne of Cleves was considered by many to be as handsome as other women. It may have been her shyness, her awkwardness, and inability to speak English as well as her ungainly German fashions that affected Henry's perception of her.
*Legend has it that Henry called her the ‘Flanders Mare’ but in actual fact that title was devised around a century later by Bishop Gilbert Burnet

Three months after the divorce, it was reported by the French Ambassador Marillac that "Madame of Cleves has a more joyous countenance than ever. She wears a great variety of dresses and passes all her time in sports and recreations." (It is likely she found Henry as unattractive as he found her). She and the King remained friends, and she was close to his children.

Endearing trait(s):
Gentleness & humility, kindness, especially to the little Elizabeth, good friend to Mary, prudence, (she knew to take the money, manors and status as the King's 'beloved sister' and keep her head.)There was a French report that the English valued her "as one of the most sweet, gracious and humane queens they had had."

Annoying trait(s):
Barely could speak English (although she did learn it pretty quickly) & could not sing, dance or play music . Henry rejected her for amongst other things ...her "evil smells" (His ulcerated leg probably didn't smell too good, either.)

Anne of Cleves as played by Joss Stone
Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves
Season 3/4
Anne of Cleves signature

a lady of right commendable
regard, courteous, gentle, a good housekeeper & very bountiful
to her servants’

[Ralph Holinshed]

Cleves badgeAnne of Cleves COA as Queen Consort

"One of the bizarre aspects of the court of King Henry and Queen Katherine must have been the visits of the King's 'good sister', the Lady Anne of Cleves. At New Year 1541, for example, a year to the day since her first unfortunate encounter with King Henry, the Lady Anne celebrated by flinging herself down on her knees before Queen Katherine Howard, 'as if she herself were merely the most insignificant damsel'....

At the 1541 banquet, which followed the former Queen's obeisance to the present incumbent, it was noted that the Lady Anne looked as happily unconcerned 'as if there had been nothing between them' (herself and the king). Anne of Cleves, aged 25, ended the evening dancing with Queen Katherine Howard, aged 19, while the King stumped off to bed, because his leg was hurting him. This arrangement was evidently a great success. The next day all parties had dinner together again with much 'conversation, amusement and mirth', as before the evening ended with the young ladies dancing together after the king retired."

~ Antonia Fraser "The SIx Wives of Henry

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Family members:
Father: John III, Duke of Cleves (German: Jean III Herzog von Kleve) (b. 10 Nov 1490, d. 6 Feb 1539)
Mother: Marie of Julich (German: Marie von Jülich) (b. 3 Aug 1491, d. 19 Aug 1543)
Brother: William, Duke of Cleves (German: Wilhelm III Herzog von Jülich-Cleves-Berg) (b. 1516, d. 1592) married Archduchess Maria of Austria von Österreich, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I Habsburg and Anna Jagellon. Had issue.
Sister: Amalia von Kleve (b. 1517, d. 1586) Never married. No issue.
Sister: Sybille von Kleve (b. 17 Jul 1512, d. 21 Feb 1554) married John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony (German: Johann Friedrich I Kurfürst von Sachsen). Had issue. One of her descendants includes Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, wife of Frederick Hanover, Prince of Wales who were parents to King George III of Great Britain, making her an ancestor of the current British Monarchy.


None are known of.

Princess Mary
Princess Elizabeth




  • If I Cannot Please The King, Will He Kill Me?


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Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves
Season 3
Anne of Cleves

Holbein minature of Anne created for Henry VIII in the original carved ivory rose case. After Henry recieved this he requested a full length portrait.
Anne of Cleves as played by Joss Stone
Season 3
Anne of Cleves portrait by Holbein

Original Portrait of Anne of Cleves

c. 1539
Parchment mounted on canvas,
65 x 48 cm
e du Louvre, Paris
Anne of Cleves as played by Joss Stone
Season 4
Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves

Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves
Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves in season 4
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