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

The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

by Heather R. Darsie The 16th century saw rapid changes in military capabilities. The medieval knight and a knight’s form of armor and fighting reached peak efficiency by around 1450. After 1450, advances in military science made armor more and more vulnerable. The advent of pike attacks and guns made armor almost ineffective, and the flat walls of many fortifications made excellent targets for canon … Continue reading The Increasing Horrors of War in 16th Century Western Europe

16th Century Religious Reformation: What Did the Term “Reform” Mean?

by Heather R. Darsie The idea of ‘reform’ is multifaceted, with its meaning changing from Reformer to Reformer. This article looks at the German Martin Luther’s,  itinerant German-turned-Swiss preacher Melchior Hoffman’s, and Swiss Heinrich Bullinger’s basic thoughts on church reform. It is by no means inclusive of all their ideas, but is hopefully a springboard for further discussion. Martin Luther, who famously posted his 95 … Continue reading 16th Century Religious Reformation: What Did the Term “Reform” Mean?

Elector Johann Friedrich: Anna of Cleves’ Powerful Brother-in-Law

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared at On the Tudor Trail. Johann Friedrich Wettin, Elector of Saxony, was born 30 June 1503 to Elector John of Saxony and his first wife Sophia of Mecklenburg. Sadly, Sophia passed away on 12 July 1503, shortly after Johann Friedrich’s birth.  Johann Friedrich was born in Torgau, Saxony. His father married again, bringing Johann Friedrich … Continue reading Elector Johann Friedrich: Anna of Cleves’ Powerful Brother-in-Law

If by Land or by Sea

by Heather R. Darsie Anne of Cleves by Hans Holbein, 1539 Anna von Kleve, known to English speakers as Anne of Cleves, left her homeland in December 1539 to join her new husband, Henry VIII of England. The two had been married by proxy a couple months earlier, in October. After Henry successfully negotiated the marriage alliance with Anna’s younger brother Wilhelm, Duke of Cleves … Continue reading If by Land or by Sea

Anna, Daughter of Cleves

by Heather R. Darsie July 16, 2015 marks the 458th anniversary of Anna von Kleve’s death. Anna died of a declining illness and was buried in Westminster Abby.[1] Anna’s illness, which was suspected to be cancer, began in early 1557.[2] After her death on July 16, 1557 at Chelsea, Anna was buried on August 3, 1557 near Edward the Confessor’s shrine.[3] Mary I, executrix of … Continue reading Anna, Daughter of Cleves