CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe for £25 today CLICK HERE

A Kentish Scrapbook

PUBLISHED: 15:05 28 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:05 28 December 2014

Ann of Cleeves portrait at Hever Castle

Ann of Cleeves portrait at Hever Castle

Archant

Our history sleuth unearths the stories behind Kent's rich heritage from Januarys past, from Anne of Cleves at Hever to time dropping in Deal

Following the death of his 
third wife, Jane Seymour, 
King Henry VIII found himself 
yet again in want of a wife.

Never one to overlook the possibility of turning a situation to his advantage, Henry sought to strengthen England’s alliance with Germany and, with a little persuasion from Thomas Cromwell, his eye fell on 
the two daughters of the Duke of Cleves.

Both Anne and her sister Amelia were deemed potential candidates so Henry 
sent the acclaimed portraitist Hans Holbein to paint their miniatures. Based on Henry’s preference for Anne’s likeness, Thomas Cromwell duly arranged the match.

In a plan that backfired dramatically, Henry decided to have a little sport with his future wife when she arrived in England and travelled to her lodgings at Rochester, where he entered in disguise and kissed her. How Anne responded is unknown but, from that moment, events did not go to plan.

Henry decided that his future queen wasn’t quite as polished nor as beautiful as he’d expected and tried desperately to get out of the marriage. This couldn’t be done without putting the political alliance at risk so, on 6 January 1540, they were married.

Just six months later, however, when 
the political alliance had coincidentally 
lost importance, their union was annulled on the basis that Henry had been unable 
to consummate his marriage with ‘the Flanders mare’. Anne’s thoughts on being married to Henry, living in an unfamiliar land and being surrounded by unflattering gossip are not recorded, but she wisely agreed. In recognition of her acceptance, Henry awarded her the honorary title 
of ‘The King’s Sister’, £500 a year, a 
staffed household and two houses.

To increase her status and income she was also allowed to lease a number of manors, including Hever Castle, which Anne owned until her death in 1557. How much time she spent there is a mystery and, apart from a couple of stunning portraits, her presence is invisible.

The only evidence that she actually visited her castle comes in the form of two letters, one written to her brother, thanking him for some hunting birds, and the other written to Mary Tudor in 1554, signed 
‘from my poore house of Hever’.

The castle is, of course, the childhood home of Henry’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. For Anne of Cleves, perhaps, 
the surroundings and the fact that, even now, Anne Boleyn is supposed to haunt the property, proved a little too much to bear.

More from Kent Life

Tue, 13:00

If you're wondering what's on this weekend in Kent, we have picked five exciting events that we're sure you'll love!

Read more
Mon, 14:11

The Westerham Walk travels closely with the famous Greensand Way trail, taking you through superb woods and hidden valleys, to Churchill's house at Chartwell and striking views out to the Weald of Kent

Read more
Mon, 13:54

Kent Life suggests some of the best spots in the Garden of England for a walk on a crisp, misty autumn day

Read more

Known for its wild countryside and farmland, the wonderful Weald of Kent is interspersed with some of our county's prettiest historic villages and towns

Read more

Kent Life meets some of the people working hard to save our historic vessels from the scrap heap

Read more

Close to Sevenoaks and with links to not one but two famous leaders, Westerham is a small country town with a big personality

Read more
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Let the Trust's series of festive events and activities help you enjoy a stress-free and fun lead-up to the big day

Read more

A scream pierced the foggy night, then all was silent, save for the sound of scurrying footsteps. Murder had been committed. Dare you read on?

Read more

Join us on a literary journey around the Kent coast to see how it has inspired writers over the centuries

Read more
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

'Kent, sir, everyone knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women,' proclaims a character in Charles Dickens' The Pickwick Papers. We have gathered some traditional dishes from around the county that were borne of the fruitful orchards and seas of Kent

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life