4 October 1539 – The signing of the marriage treaty between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves

On this day in history, 4th October 1539, in London, the commissioners of King Henry VIII signed the treaty which arranged the marriage of the king and Anne of Cleves (Anna von Jülich-Kleve-Berg).

Anne’s brother, William, Duke of Cleves, had signed the treaty on 4th September 1539 and then sent it to England with his ambassadors to be signed and ratified. You can click here to read about the terms of the treaty and to read a copy of it.

Anne left home to travel to England on 26th November 1539, travelling in a horse-drawn chariot. She reached Calais on 11th December but due to bad weather was unable to leave the port until 27th December. Anne landed at Deal at 5pm on 27th December and rested at Deal Castle before travelling on to Rochester and then on to Greenwich. She married the king on 6th January 1540 but the marriage was annulled in July 1540 and the king went on to marry Catherine Howard in the same month.

Here is a short video on Anne of Cleves:

You can read more about Anne of Cleves in the following articles:

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2 thoughts on “4 October 1539 – The signing of the marriage treaty between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves”
  1. When Anne left home she must’ve been sad to leave her family and a bit nervous to travel to a country she knew little about and wasn’t fluent in the language but also excited to start her new life as a Queen.

  2. Wow these contracts really are detailed. Henry was willing to let Duke William off part of his promise of money as he was anxious to have his new bride. It is doubtful that William could not afford the money as he was known as William the Rich and inherited wealthy and vast lands. The part about Anne’s inheritance of the various Duchies with Cleves if her brother died is interesting. Henry must have been impressed by the prospect of controlling lands in Germany and the Empire in his wife’s name, if Duke William died without heirs and of adding those lands to his own if he and Anne had children. This match offered so much but came to nothing maybe alas, but maybe to the happiness of both parties. William did marry against, Maria, Archduchess of Austria and had four children but Anne and Henry didn’t work out and she was given several palaces and an income as compensation for agreeing to an annulment.

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