After the death of his third wife, Jane Seymour, King Henry VIII mourned for two years before remarrying. When he was ready to seek out a fourth bride, he dispatched the painter, Hans Holbien to the German court to paint Anne of Cleves and her sister Amelia. Henry was quite taken with Anne's portrait, and the match was considered politically favorable. He met Anne's arrival at riverside, but after the first night, it is said Henry emerged from their sleeping quarters and pronounced, "I like her not". Popular culture has it that Henry found her unattractive, calling her a "Flander's Mare". She is thought to have been plumper than his previous wives. But other historians suggest there are better possible reasons for the mismatch. Anne was ill-prepared for the English court. She was raised with a concentration in domestic skills, and was uneducated in the music and literature so popular in Henry's court. In addition, she may have herself been repulsed by Henry. By this time he weighed over 300lbs, and had a foul-smelling wound on his leg that wouldn't heal. It has been suggested that she made him dislike her in order to get out of the match. It was also around this time that political tensions made the alliance with Germany less desirable. After 6 months, Anne agreed to an annulment. The two parted amicably, and are even said to have become friends. Henry called her "The King's sister", and Anne later attended the coronation of his first daughter Mary. Henry gave Anne of Cleves the estate of Hever, formerly the home of Anne Boleyn. Anne of Cleves outlived all of Henry's other wives.
I'm taking a very short break from making the Tudor wives, in order to finish a piece for the show in Sydney, but more toys are coming soon!