Anne of Cleves

Soon after the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, Henry began a sort of international beauty contest with the big prize being, well, him. It is an unfounded but juicy rumor that Christina of Milan rejected his proposal by saying, "I fear I have but one head." In 1539, Henry's quest to find the fourth lucky woman to be his bride. Her name was Anne of Cleves, the twenty-three year old sister of the Duke of Cleves, and Henry VIII signed the marriage contract without laying eyes on her first, which was a mistake. When she arrived in England, he found her not to his taste, to say the least. Henry suggested that they annul there marriage and offered her generous terms to compensate her for her loss (including an income of five hundred pounds a year, the use of two royal palaces, and the honor of being the number one woman in England -- after Henry's next wife, of course!) Anne was happy to agree to the terms, too happy, at least according to Henry. "Some protestation, a few regretful tears" would have more suited to his taste and ego.
The marriage was annulled six months later and so Anne of Cleves became the luckiest of all Henry VIII's wives.

Links

King and Queens of England, Scotland and Wales.
Cool site on the Tudors and lots of other British monarchs.
Time Line
An Overview of the English Monarchy.
Royal Genealogies
Look up all of the Tudor's ancestors and relatives.
Royal Scandals by Michael Rarquhar
A funny (but accurate) look at the scandals that have plagued the British Royal family throughout history.


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