6 January – Epiphany fun and feasting, and The marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
Posted By joelridg on January 6, 2022
Happy Epiphany! Happy Kings’ Day! Yes, today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the day that commemorated the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child.
I share some examples of how Epiphany was celebrated at the royal court.
Find out what those Tudor people got up to on Twelfth Night in this talk…
Also on this day, I speak about the marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves which took place.
Find out more about the marriage in this video…
1 thought on “6 January – Epiphany fun and feasting, and The marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves”
Anna of Kleve was a good match for an ageing monarch who had been very careless with his first three wives. Within four years, one wife had died from cancer and neglected, exiled and degraded, one had been beheaded on false treason charges and one had died from complications in childbirth, probably because men had been let into the royal birthroom for the first time and probably also through negligence.
The truth was Henry Viii in 1540 was not great marriage material and that meant England wasn’t a great prospect as an allie. England stood under Excommunication against a Catholic Europe and both Charles V and Francis I where under obligation to invade England and enforce that Excommunication by dethroning Henry. Several French brides had turned him down and Kleves was almost his last hope. It was also a practical choice. Right, first of all let’s clear up one big myth… Kleves was not a backwater, nor was it insignificant, nor was it that small as it was part of a combination of United Duchies… Myth no.2..Kleve was not Protestant and neither was Anna. Kleve was ruled now by her brother, William the Rich, powerful and well respected. He was pro reform but not exactly a Protestant. Maria, their mother was a Catholic and she raised her daughters the same way. She brought territories with her and she raised Anna to be sensible and was apparently close to her. Kleve stood in a strategic position to build a buffer between England and the Empire and as a member of the League they had access to huge military might. Henry was onto a winner.
When he saw Anna’s portrait he was enchanted and he was willing to forgo a huge dowry. According to his sources it all went wrong when he took himself to visit Anna didn’t like what he saw. According to the German sources and to Hall, that is a load of rubbish.
Now on their wedding day, Henry was supposed to be reluctant and the wedding night a disaster. I would suggest the fault was his, not hers and so much of his reasoning to get out of the marriage invented. Anna showed intelligence, a quick mind, grace, common sense and a willingness to please and to protect herself. Henry acted like a fool.