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The Schwanenburg, Castle of the Dukes of Cleves

Posted By on October 9, 2013

Thank you so much to Elena Homburg from Kleve for taking these beautiful photos of Swan Castle (the Schwanenburg), the former home of the Dukes of Cleves, the family of Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Anne is also said to have lived there before she travelled to England in 1539 to marry Henry VIII.

The Swan Tower

The Swan Tower

The Swan tower

The Swan tower

The golden swan on the Tower. It was placed there in the 15th century.

The golden swan on the Tower. It was placed there in the 15th century.

View from the Tower

View from the Tower

View from the Tower

View from the Tower

The remains of an 800 year old fountain

The remains of an 800 year old fountain

More fountain remains

More fountain remains

The castle in the time of Anne of Cleves, with the Duke Wilhelm Gate

The castle in the time of Anne of Cleves, with the Duke Wilhelm Gate

How the castle looked in Anne of Cleves' time.

How the castle looked in Anne of Cleves’ time.

The Dukes of Cleves

The Dukes of Cleves

Anne of Cleves’ father, John III, Duke of Cleves, is the fourth one along (fourth from left) and her brother, William I, Duke of Cleves, is the fifth one along.

Swan Castle

Swan Castle

Swan Castle

Swan Castle

The entry, with elements of the old knight's hall

The entry, with elements of the old knight’s hall

The prison

The prison

16th century handcuffs

16th century handcuffs

Inner courtyard

Inner courtyard

Inner courtyard

Inner courtyard

Old door lock

Old door lock

An old toilet which was discovered in 2011

An old toilet which was discovered in 2011

16th century secret closet

16th century secret closet

Moyland Castle, near Cleves

Moyland Castle, near Cleves

Moyland Castle

Moyland Castle

6 thoughts on “The Schwanenburg, Castle of the Dukes of Cleves”

  1. Linda Saether says:

    How interesting to see this! I often wonder what would have been if the first meeting between Anne and Henry would have fared better. It was actually a doomed situation either way, because if she had taken to “the handsome stranger” that Henry attempted to portray in his disguise, that would not have been appropriate either since she was to marry the King.
    In spite of her maligned image, she was a smart one, and the most fortunate of the wives.

  2. BanditQueen says:

    Thank you to Emma for these wonderful photographs; you can see why it is called Swan Castle; it has towers that resemble the long neck of a swan and is a beautiful castle. It looks also very high and reminds me of the Karlstein; built on several layers from the lower part of the cliff to the higher levels on the hillside guarding the pass. A spectacular view from the top; and enjoyed the information about Anne from the cases inside the castle. I think the Tudors did a very good reconstruction of it. It is nice to see some of the places from other parts of the world connected to our Queens and other important people; and Swan Castle must have been a delightful home for Anne of Cleves. Thank you. YNWA

  3. Elena Homburg says:

    You are very welcome! It was a pleasure taking these photos.

  4. Angela Fares says:

    Elena

    I was fortunate enough to visit Swan Castle as a child when my school in Schwartzenbach near Zweibrucken took field trips to Dusseldorf (we sailed up the Rhine River by boat) while our teacher explained the importance of the various provinces and their impact on the local economy, culture, and trade. These pictures bring back so many memories and they are quite beautiful! You are a talented photographer and I am grateful that you shared.

    I was so taken with the life of Anne of Cleves that I wrote many papers on her life for school assignments after my family returned to the United States. She is still one of my favorite “heroines” and, dare I say, one of the early feminists of our time? She showed herself quite capable of taking care of her own interests and never stopped fighting for her financial and property rights even after the death of King Henry VIII. She survived the political and financial upheavals during the reign of Edward VI and was treated honorably by Queen Mary, which meant that she was probably a kind stepmother. I think it would have been so interesting to know more about her childhood. Her older sister Sybilla was considered a beauty and married well. Her brother was set to inherit a powerful Dukedom. She must have stared out those windows over the landscape and wondered how her life would turn out, especially as she was engaged at a very young age to a French duke…which became the basis of the English divorce when her marriage failed. It must have taken nerves of steel to accept rejection and manage through the political landscape in a foreign country. She was an amazing woman in her own time.

  5. Lynette Tweedale says:

    My son lives in Kleve and it’s a really lovely place. Swan Castle is very visible from the town and still looks beautiful. A very interesting place and the castle and Kleve are well worth a visit,

  6. I loved looking at the Swan Castle during our time living just outside of Kleve. I am very thankful for the memories of this beautiful country. Thank you for these photos. I had heard from some of our neighbors and friends that Anne had lived in the Castle.

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