The accounts at right were written by the Spanish ambassador Eustace Chapuys.
Anne was Henry VIII’s fourth wife. The marriage was annulled after only a few months, primarily because the king did not find her attractive. And he had already found an attractive replacement – Catherine Howard.
Of particular interest is Henry’s trick at their first meeting and Anne’s reaction, undoubtedly a humbling experience for the king.
This year on St John’s Day, 27 December, Lady Anne, daughter of the duke of Cleves in Germany, landed at Dover at 5 o’clock at night, and there was honorably received by the duke of Suffolk and other great lords, and so lodged in the castle. And on the following Monday she rode to Canterbury where she was honorably received by the archbishop of Canterbury and other great men, and lodged at the king’s palace at St Austin’s, and there highly feasted. On Tuesday she came to Sittingbourne.
On New Year’s Eve the duke of Norfolk with other knights and the barons of the exchequer received her grace on the heath, two miles beyond Rochester, and so brought her to the abbey of Rochester where she stayed that night and all New Years Day. And on New Years Day in the afternoon the king’s grace with five of his privy chamber, being disguised with mottled cloaks with hoods so that they should not be recognized, came secretly to Rochester, and so went up into the chamber where the said Lady Anne was looking out of a window to see the bull-baiting which was going on in the courtyard, and suddenly he embraced and kissed her, and showed here a token which the king had sent her for New Year’s gift, and she being abashed and not knowing who it was thanked him, and so he spoke with her. But she regarded him little, but always looked out the window…. and when the king saw that she took so little notice of his coming he went into another chamber and took off his cloak and came in again in a coat of purple velvet. And when the lords and knights saw his grace they did him reverence…. and then her grace humbled herself lowly to the king’s majesty, and his grace saluted her again, and they talked together lovingly, and afterwards he took her by the hand and led her to another chamber where their graces amused themselves that night and on Friday until the afternoon.
….So she came to Greenwich that night, and was received as queen. And the next day, being Sunday, the king’s grace kept a great court at Greenwich, where his grace with the queen offered at mass, richly dressed. And on Twelfth Night, which was Tuesday, the king’s majesty was married to the said queen Anne solemnly, in her closet at Greenwich, and his grace and she went publicly in procession that day, she having a rich coronet of stone and pearls set with rosemary on her hair, and a gown of rich cloth of silver, richly hung with stones and pearls, with all her ladies and gentlewomen following her, which was a goodly sight to behold.
Link/cite this page
Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "The first meeting of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII 1539-154" https://englishhistory.net/tudor/anne-of-cleves-and-henry-viii-marriage/, February 24, 2015