3 August 1557 – Anne of Cleves’ Body was Processed from Chelsea to Westminster

Anne of Cleves VintageMerchant-taylor and diarist Henry Machyn recorded that on 3rd August 1557, the body of forty-one year-old Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, was processed from her home, Chelsea Old Manor, where she had died on 16th July, to Westminster Abbey for burial:

“The iij day of August my lade Anne of Cleyff, sumtyme wyff unto kyng Henry the viijth cam from Chelsey to be [buried] unto Westmynster, with all the chylderyn of Westmynster and [many] prest [priests] and clarkes, and then the gray ames [amice] of Powlles and iij crosses, and the monkes of Westmynster, and my lord bysshope of Lo[ndon] and my lord abbott of Westmynster rod together next the monkes, and then the ij sekturs [executors] ser Edmond Peckham and ser (Robert) Freston, cofferer to the quen of England; and then my lord admerall, my (lord) Darce of Essex, and mony knyghts and gentyllmen; and a-for her servandes, and after her baner of armes; and then her gentyllmen and here hed offesers; and then here charett with viij baners of armes of dyvers armes, and iiij baners of emages of whytt taffata, wroght with fyne gold and her armes; and so by sant James, and so to Charyingcrosse, with a C. torchys bornyng, her servandes beyrying them, and the xij bed-men of Westmynster had new blake gownes; and they had xij torchys bornyng, and iiij whyt branchys with armes; and then ladies and gentyll-women all in blake, and horsses; and a viij haroldes of armes in blake, and ther horses; and armes sad [set] a-bowt the herse behynd and be-for; and iiij haroldes barying the iiij whyt baners; and at (the) chyrche dore all dyd a-lyght and ther dyd reseyvyd the good lade my lord of London and my lord abbott in ther myteres and copes, sensyng her, and ther men dyd bere her with a canepe of blake welvett, with iiij blake stayffes, and so browth in-to the herse and ther tared durge, and so ther all nyght with lyght bornyng.”

Anne was buried at Westminster Abbey on 4th August 1557, see tomorrow’s post for details.


  • ed. Nichols, J.G. (1848) The Diary of Henry Machyn: Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London (1550-1563), p141-162

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8 thoughts on “3 August 1557 – Anne of Cleves’ Body was Processed from Chelsea to Westminster”
  1. Bless her canny, entertaining, self-surviving heart. She was one smart cookie with very little pretense.

  2. It’s funny when you consider that she was the queen Henry took an aversion to and yet she seemed to have the grandest funeral of all, being laid to rest in Westminster Abbey, the burial place of the Kings of England.

  3. Was Anne Of Cleve’s as unattractive as Henry thought she was I wonder? Holbiens portrait of her is flattering so she couldn’t have looked much like it for Henry to be so disappointed when he finally met her, they say one mans meat is another mans poison and that’s true as we all have different ideas of beauty and is what attracts you to that person that is important, for instance some people who knew Anne Boleyn thought she was beautiful and some couldn’t understand what Henry saw in her, but with Anne Of Cleve’s she doesn’t appear to have had any suitors after her marriage was annulled and she lived quietly from the court, I read that Henry said she stunk maybe it was the food she ate, German dishes prepared for her maybe with hot or spicy ingredients that he didn’t like? Peppers and chillies these would have seemed alien to the English, and then he said he didn’t like her body it wasn’t firm but by all accounts she was described as being slender, maybe it was because she was such an innocent that he wanted out of the marriage, she said to one of her women that he kissed her each night and she thought that’s all there was to it, unbelievable that anyone could be that innocent at her age she must have had such a strict upbringing and the German court sounds so stuffy, had she been at the French court she would have learned a thing or to, or at the English court but whatever it was that Henry disliked about her, her character more than made up for any facial charms she lacked, she was beloved of all her servants and had a grand send off, so she didn’t do to bad, rest in peace Anne Of Cleve’s.

  4. I have nothing against Anne of Cleves, in fact, I rather like her for being so astute as to have conceded so graciously to Henry’s wishes and therefore to have saved her neck (literally), however, it saddens me that his true wife, Catherine of Aragon, his crowned queen, lies In Peterborough while Anne of Cleves lies buried in Westminster Abbey in the manner that was deserving of Catherine of Aragon.

    1. I agree with you comments. Henry did not choose her as a wife. And I read it was he who smelled because of his leg abscess . They probably all smelled given to the fact that they did not bathe often!! Catherine of Aragon was his real Queen.

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