Anna of Cleves’ Early Life and Court Culture

by Heather R. Darsie, JD Anna von der Mark was born on 28 June 1515 as the second daughter and second child of Johann III of Cleves-Mark and Maria of Jülich-Berg. She followed another daughter, Sybylla, who was born 17 July 1512. Anna was named after her paternal aunt Anna, the only legitimate daughter of Duke Johann II of Cleves-Mark. Anna’s place of birth is … Continue reading Anna of Cleves’ Early Life and Court Culture

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?

The Annes of Cleves, Part I

by Heather R. Darsie The name “Anne of Cleves” conjures thoughts of Henry VIII’s allegedly unattractive, unfashionable fourth wife. However, over the span of almost 200 years, there were five women known as “Anne of Cleves.” First we will meet Anne of Burgundy, who by marriage became an Anne of Cleves. For purposes of this article, we will refer to her as “van Kleef.” Next, … Continue reading The Annes of Cleves, Part I