New Decade, New Bride: Henry VIII and Anna of Cleves

by Heather R. Darsie, J. D. Anna von der Mark, Hereditary Duchess of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, had been on English terra firma for about a week when she married her husband, Henry VIII of England. Henry was exactly twice Anna’s age, her being twenty-four and he, forty-eight. Perhaps the couple thought about celebrating their joint 28 June birthday together. According to the German account, Anna and Henry … Continue reading New Decade, New Bride: Henry VIII and Anna of Cleves

How did Anna of Cleves Celebrate Christmas?

by Heather R. Darsie, J.D. Christmas celebrations today are a lot different from what Anna von der Mark’s Christmas would have been like. The timing of presents and how Christmas was observed changed dramatically in some parts of Germany from her early to shortly before she left for England. She would not have exchanged gifts with her family on Christmas. Instead, they would have exchanged … Continue reading How did Anna of Cleves Celebrate Christmas?

Happy Birthday, Anna of Cleves and Henry VIII!

by Heather R. Darsie On this day of 28 June in 1515, a little baby girl was born in the Holy Roman Empire whose life would be dramatically shaped by international politics. The baby was christened, “Anna,” after her paternal aunt. “Anna” was a family name on her maternal side, as well. Anna of Cleves’ great-grandmother through Maria of Juelich-Berg was Anna of Saxony. Anna … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Anna of Cleves and Henry VIII!

The First Cracks in Anna of Cleves’ Marriage to Henry VIII

By late February 1540, it was already obvious to Henry VIII that the political situation between Anna of Cleves brother, the young Duke Wilhelm, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was serious. Most members of Anna’s German party who came with her across Imperial and French territory to England had left for the United Duchies of Juelich-Cleves-Berg. Henry faced the very real concern that his … Continue reading The First Cracks in Anna of Cleves’ Marriage to Henry VIII

Death of Johann III of Cleves and Ascension of Wilhelm V: Anna of Cleves’ Future Changes

On 6 February 1539, Anna of Cleves’ father Johann III von der Mark, Duke of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg died from an illness. He tuned 48 years old the November before. It was erroneously reported at Henry VIII’s court that it was Wilhelm, who was still only 22 years old, had died. Johann’s death allowed Wilhelm to pursue his clever-but-reckless political agenda, which included … Continue reading Death of Johann III of Cleves and Ascension of Wilhelm V: Anna of Cleves’ Future Changes

Elizabeth I’s Coronation: A Perspective

by Heather R. Darsie On Sunday 15 January 1559, Elizabeth Tudor became Elizabeth I, Queen of England, Ireland, and France, Defender of the Faith. Elizabeth had just turned 25 years old that past September. She picked that date under the advice of the court astrologer, John Dee, By the time of her coronation, Elizabeth had outlived her mother, father, legitimate and confirmed illegitimate half-siblings, her … Continue reading Elizabeth I’s Coronation: A Perspective

When Henry Met Anna: The German Account

by Heather R. Darsie On 1 January 1540, Henry VIII surprised his new bride, Anna of Cleves. For centuries, it was believed that Henry VIII found Anna of Cleves ugly at worst and was not attracted to her at best. The main sources for this rumor were depositions specifically created for the annulment of their marriage. The depositions were taken in June and July 1540, … Continue reading When Henry Met Anna: The German Account

1519: A Tudor Year in Review

by Heather R. Darsie The year 1519 was a year of massive changes, important births, and important deaths in Western Europe. Some of these impacted Henry VIII’s reign, whilst others did not come meaningfully into play until the reigns of Henry’s daughters. Henry VIII turned 28 years old in 1519, and was still young-minded. Births and Deaths Maximilian I von Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor, died … Continue reading 1519: A Tudor Year in Review

Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm

by Heather R. Darsie   On 21 July 1540, Anna of Cleves was no longer allowed to hide the truth from her brother Wilhelm about her marriage’s end. Henry had grown impatient waiting for Anna to write her family. Anna waited as long as she could, hoping that Henry would either directly send a letter to Duke Wilhelm in Cleves, or that one of Henry’s … Continue reading Anna of Cleves Breaks the News to Wilhelm