Monday, January 6, 2020

The One That Got Away

On this day, January 6, 1540, Henry VIII married his fourth sife, Anne of Cleves. Despite the beauty of Holbein's portrait, Henry (a real picture himself) did not like his new wife.

Anne agreed to an annullment and assumed the title of the "King's Dear Sister," which got her property, a pension, and most importantly, continued possession of her head.

She is one of my favorites of Henry's queens, simply because of her common sense. She looked at his track record, she looked at her own position, and she very intelligently decided that her life would be best served - and best continued - by giving him what he wanted.

The marriage to Anne of Cleves also ended the life of the King's Lord Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, a man who had survived all the ups and downs of the reign thus far. Henry used the marriage as an excuse, but I'm sure there was more to it. He also regretted the execution almost immediately, and it serves him right. Cromwell was no saint, but for the most part, he was just doing his master's bidding.

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