In Defense of Anne of Cleves
Anne of Cleves got the last laugh, didn't she? She survived a marriage to Henry VIII, stayed involved in the lives of her stepchildren (she rode next to Princess Elizabeth at Mary I's coronation, and was a guest of honor at many family events) and received an annual income from the king, living in splendor in England. This "ugly duckling" also had a panache for commissioning fancy dresses!
Yet, all that anyone ever learns about her pertains to her appearance! The "Flander's Mare" comment probably came after her time, and was not contemporary, though it is true that Henry was less than pleased with her.
Anne was not an "English Beauty", but then again, many of England's own women did not naturally look like the English ideal of beauty, so they strived to achieve it through cosmetic means, etc. Many of Englands most beautiful would not have been appealing in Germany, and so on...
I have a portrait Replica of Anne hanging in the stairwell of my house: It reminds me that luck, modesty and brains have a lot more to do with success than beauty and other peoples opinions of you!
Here's to Anne of Cleves, the "Flander's Mare" having the last laugh!
Dec 28 2009, 9:59 AM EST by
Anne of Cleves Controversies
Historical Controversies about Anne of Cleves Click EasyEdit to add this page! (Don't see the EasyEdit button above? Sign in or Sign up .) Was Anne of Cleves really Ugly? " News da
Apr 21 2010, 11:37 PM EDT by
Anne of Cleves' Unattractive appearance
I have just been re-reading Antonia Fraser's "Wives of Henry VIII" and I noticed something I apparently missed before, In addtion to the fact that Anne was descirbed as tall,thin, and of 'middling' beauty (to me that means she was certainly not ugly), it is seldom mentioned that she and all of her attendants were in black mourning for her father, Duke John who had died before her departure from Cleves. Can you imagine that she may have often been weeping for the loss of her father, perhaps seasick from the journey, dressed, of course, not only in the strange (to English eyes) garments of the Clevian court, but also in black,? The poor woman almost certainly would not have been pleasant to look at especially to a man to whom all tokens of death or illness were abhorrent. Henry was an inconsiderate jerk in so much of his dealings with this sweet lady. What a pity he could not look beyond appearances!
Jan 30 2009, 4:09 AM EST by