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December 27, 1539: Anne of Cleves landed in Kent

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for December 27.

On December 27, 1539 Anne of Cleves landed in Kent. She was on her way to being Henry’s fourth wife, and she would be the only one Henry married without ever having met her. Instead, he sent Hans Holbein to paint her, and whether or not Holbein flattered her in the painting is something that art historians have been arguing for centuries. Either way, when Henry met her, he was repulsed, though it’s also possible that it was the fact that Anne didn’t recognize him and was rude to him when he tried to surprise her in disguise, that put him off.

Either way, the marriage barely lasted six months, though Anne was bitterly disappointed in its ending. People often portray her as the lucky one now, but at the time, she was very upset at being put aside – her honor was at stake. After Catherine Howard was killed, Anne was positive that Henry would come back to her, and when he married Katherine Parr, Anne made some disparaging comments about Katherine’s looks as compared to her own.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com where there is an episode on Anne of Cleves.

Anne of Cleves episode here