In your opinion, why Anne of Cleves never re-married after the annulment of her marriage to Henry VIII? Is it true that as former wife to the king she was not allowed to marry? Or is the truth the fact that by re-marrying she would loose the pension Henry VIII had bestowed on her?

Anne of Cleves never remarried after the annulment because, like Catherine of Aragon, she believed that she was Henry's true wife, so much so that she believed that they would remarry after Catherine Howard's fall.
Convocation had declared in 1540 that Anne was free to remarry but Elizabeth Norton points out that nobody would have dared to marry the king's ex-wife while Henry was still alive and also Anne believed herself to be Henry's wife. Even after Henry's death, there is no evidence that Anne ever considered remarriage but Edward VI did recommend her as a wife to Thomas Seymour.
It is true that a remarriage would have made Anne dependent on her husband and not the King's council but although it is often said that the terms of the annulment forbade her from remarrying, this is not true.


19 thoughts on “In your opinion, why Anne of Cleves never re-married after the annulment of her marriage to Henry VIII? Is it true that as former wife to the king she was not allowed to marry? Or is the truth the fact that by re-marrying she would loose the pension Henry VIII had bestowed on her?”

  1. Samantha says:

    I have never heard that Anne of Cleves continued to think of herself as Henry’s wife. I’ve always heard and assumed to be true, that she agreed to the annulment because she found Henry disgusting. I haven’t really read that much on Anne of Cleves, are there any good books on her?

    1. Claire says:

      Hi Samantha,
      Yes, it is said that Anne of Cleves was hoping that Henry would remarry her after Catherine Howard’s fall and it was rumoured that she had had illegitimate children by the King so there was obviously some friendship between them. The only biography on Anne is Elizabeth Norton’s “Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Discarded Bride”, which is excellent, but there are also very good sections on her in the six wives books by David Starkey and David Loades.

      1. Linda says:

        In one book I read (ficton) Anne of Cleves had to agree that she was already contracted in marrage in Germany. But even if fiction that was enough for the annulment in those days so it would hamper her making a good marriage.

        I believe she was repelled by the King, but wouldn’t let that stop her from staying queen. That was a huge insult to her and her country and personally I believe she would have stayed no matter what he did.

      2. Renee Pigeon says:

        Anne of cleves may have had illegitimate children with King HenryVIII??? Why have I never heard this before? I thought the marriage was never consumated. How can this be?

  2. Stone Maven says:

    People seem to forget that until recently (barely a 100 years ago), women were not considered anything more than property. In fact, many men often compared marrying women to buying a gelding or horse. Women during this time were never encouraged otherwise and had poor role models in other women that often simply taught them they were lucky to have the life they did.

    Those in royalty were not any different. Anne of Cleves was property and her husband was chosen for her by her brother who previously owned her. Imagine growing up knowing your brother will someday own you. Now imagine being okay with this because you just don’t know any better. She was never taught to make her own decisions and likely had her estate and belongings all overlooked by other male secretaries to the king who also treated her as property. She also likely was mortified and embarrassed by her failed marriage as divorce of any kind was considered a sin and her remarrying would have condemned her to hell (likely why she considered herself still married under the eyes of God). Many people that were divorced often did not remarry during this time because to do so would admit to God, they had participated in divorce and people were VERY afraid of hell during this time. It was very real to them.

    The fact that she may have continued a relationship with him after their annulment indicates she considered herself still very married to King Henry.

  3. Nicole says:

    Maybe this is too simple, but I believe Anne never remarried because she didn’t have to! Cheers!

    1. Tidus says:

      I agree Nicole. I just find it hard to believe she
      would still want to be married to him. Did she not
      know how he treated his wives. Not too sure I
      believe this. The only thing I can think of, is she
      feared bring sent back to her brother.

  4. I have felt sorry for Princess Anna of Cleves. It sounds like she had no rights in marrying
    or remarrying. If she had went back to Cleves, she may well have had to wait until her
    brother the Duke of Cleves could arrange another marriage. I really feel like Henry VIII
    cheated on her, or He like young Catherine Howard enough, so he lied and never came
    and joined Anna at Richmond Palace.

    Poor Princess Anna, She left her home, only to marry a man who mistreated his wives or
    had them killed off. I’ll never understand why Catherine Parr married the Old goat.

    Every Lady at Court was afraid of him or they should have been. He had Lady Sailsbury
    killed, then his 5th wife and Lady Jane Bolyen.

    After Henry VIII’s death, Princess Anna of Cleves wasn’t awarded like the terms of the

  5. J.R. says:

    I think she never remarried because she had it good, and remarrying would jeopardize that. As long as she remained in England, she didn’t need to obey her brother and marry against her will. As the King’s “sister,” she enjoyed wealth and autonomy that was rare for women in those days. Had she married, her wealth and property would have been her husband’s. She wouldn’t have been able to do whatever she pleased anymore. And, if she was unmarried, the King had an obligation to her. He was responsible for bringing her to England, and he was the closest she had to a male provider. If she married, her (probably less powerful and rich) husband would be responsible for her. Henry might have still looked on her kindly, but his favors would have lessened. Plus, there was that awkward question of her status. She was a princess in her own right, so it’s unlikely she would have married just anyone. Then she was the king’s sister, but she had been the king’s wife. The marriage of dowager queens was difficult enough, but when the marriage was annulled? No one wanted to open that can of worms. And with Henry, who knew? You could get your head lopped off for not bearing a son! Who’s to say he wouldn’t have decided that by marrying his not-wife, Anne’s new husband was trying to make himself equal to the king?

  6. Lauralee Henshall says:

    I believe Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Kleves were Gracious and kind.. Henry the 8th was cruel and mean!! He did not deserve them at all!!! I was never a fan of Ann Boyelyn. She did more a lot of bad things . Jane was not queen long enough! But, did get his Girls back in court! Katherine Howard was Ditziest. !!! And Catherine part was only a nurse made but, very nice to Nice to both daughters!

  7. Renee Warner says:

    Anne of Cleves did find Henry VIII disgusting and had a hard time hiding her disappointment. Thus causing Henry VIII’s response. Her brother William Duke of Cleves wanted her to remarry Henry to reform the political alliance. She could never remarry without Henry VIII’s permission and it was he who discouraged any suitors.

  8. Mark Mode says:

    I think Princess Anna of Cleves was a piece of property. Her Brother married her off to a
    middle aged King who was a womanizer. Then
    after six months of marriage, he got the marriage annulled, so he could marry a child
    bride. I guess Princess Anna was a wise lady.

    She got a nice settlement in the end. If she
    had remarried, her next husband would have
    got her land Grant’s, and her money.

    She was wise to stay in England instead of
    going back home, and being subject to her

    1. Suzanne Frances says:

      In these days, child brid didn’t mean anything. Henry VIII’s mother was 14 she gave birth to him.

      1. Sam says:

        I thought she was 20 when she gave birth to Henry’s older brother Arthur. Did you mean Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry vii? She was married at 12, I believe and had her son a year later.

  9. Mark Mode says:

    Princess Anna was wise not to remarry. She
    had money, clothing, food, shelter, and servants.

    If she had, her next husband would have got
    all of it, and Henry VIII might have stopped the
    money flow. She had all the benefits except
    being Queen. To me she was a Queen in her
    on right. She was holding court at Richmond.

    She had benefits, that she wouldn’t have had if
    she would have returned home to Cleves. She
    would be a subject to her brother like she was
    before she left.

  10. Anastaziia says:

    Can you imagine if she had remarried – even to someone who loved her but still likely someone who would have their own agenda for it too- and then started having one boy after another? Henry would never have stood for it. Any goodwill he would have had towards her would have gone and he would have found a way to behead her and her new husband for treason.

  11. Lauralee Henshall says:

    I really wonder if Anne of Cleves was a Virgin till the day she died

  12. Rose of Trastamara says:

    I believe that she actually waited to marry Henry again. Her brother actually brought it up to the king after Katherine Howard’s execution and Anne was quite upset when Henry got married to Catherine Parr.

  13. Princess Anna of Cleves was wise not to remarry. If she would have returned to Cleves, she
    would have been subject to her brother until he could have arranged another marriage for her.

    Anna was better off. She had money, shelter, clothing, shoes, food, and servants. She didn’t have
    to answer to anyone, but the King. She had a new family, and she was treated like a sister of
    the King. Anna was treated like a Queen by the English people even though her marriage was

    I believe, that maybe Anna wanted to remarry the King, then again maybe not. Poor Anna could
    have been treated like Catherine of Aragon or worse like Anne Bolyen.

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