By Dr. Pelham Mead III
Draft Version, not yet published 2023.
Anne of Cleves was the fourth wife of King Henry VIII of England. She was German and spoke very little English when she arrived in England. Their marriage lasted six month before he divorced her and made her one of the richest women in England. She ws close to Elizabeth I and Mary, his daughters who were rejected by their father.
The Personal Diary of Queen Anne of Cleves, 4th Wife of King Henry VIII of England
By Dr. Pelham K. Mead III and George Schandel
Translated from Dutch into English by Ken of Bellmore
To George Schandel who gave me the idea to write about
Queen Anne of Cleves from her viewpoint instead of Henry VIII’s viewpoint,
the Ambassadors of the Court viewpoints or other historical viewpoints.
Index to Diary Entries
Entry 1-The Early Years (born September 22, 1515)
Entry 2- September 1527, age 14
Entry 3- Spring 1539-The court painter-Hans Holbein arrives in Cleves
Entry 4- August 1539- Hans Holbein returns to England
Entry 5- October 6, 1539- Marriage Treaty signed and my departure to England
Entry 6-December 11, 1539-My arrival in Calais
Entry 7- December 11-26, 1539- Bad weather
Entry 8- December 27, 1539- The crossing-Landing at Deal, England
Entry 9- December 27-January 1, 1540-Traveling from Castle to Castle
Entry 10- January 1, 1540-The Stranger (His Majesty)
Entry 11- January 6, 1540-The Marriage
Entry 12-January 27, 1540- His Majesty dismisses most of my staff, and sends them back to Germany
Entry 13- Feb 3, 1540- The feast in honor of my departing staff by his Majesty
Entry 14- January 1540- March- The Invisible King-Sent to Dartford Castle
Entry 15-Easter 1540-Spending Mass with his Majesty
Entry 16- March 1540- His Majesty gives Cathryn Howard a present of land
Entry 17 May Day- April 30-May 7,1540-Celebrating with his Majesty-Jousts-Open House at Durham Palace.
Entry 18- June 20, 1540- Complaints to Ambassador Harst about rumors of Katherine Howard and his Majesty.
Entry 19- June 22, and 24,1540- Bad Times, and St. John the Baptist holiday.
Entry 20-July 6, 1540 Moving from Durham Castle to Richmond castle per order of the Kings council.
Entry 21- July 9, 1540 Parliament declares marriage null and void, Annulment.
Entry 22- July 1540- My remorse and shock of not being the Queen
Entry 23-July 10, 1540 My Letter to his Majesty
Entry 24-July 1540 Lord Cromwell is executed, and his Majesty marries Cathryn
Howard the same day
Entry 25-August 1540- The King’s Sister and his Majesty’s generosity settlement.
Entry 26-August 1540- A visit from his Majesty
Entry 27- The Book of Hours given to his Majesty (printed in 1533, Germany)
Entry 28-September-November 1540 at Hever Castle
Entry 29-Christmas 1540 with Lady Mary I, Queen Cathryn Howard, his Majesty and myself.
Entry 30-January 1541-
Entry 31-Spring of 1541
Entry 32-Summer of 1541
Entry 33-November 1541-Sickness and Pregnancy gossip
Entry 34-Nov. 1541 Cathryn Howard arrested for treason
Entry 35-Christmas 1541-Exchange of presents-sent Henry pieces of crimson and Henry sent pots and flagons
Entry 36-February 13, 1542-Cathryn Howard beheaded at the Tower of London
Entry 37-March 1542-The aftermath
Entry 38- Spring 1542-His Majesty becomes ill
Entry 39-date ?1542-His Majesty marries Katherine Parr
Entry 40-Christmas 1543- His Majesty invites all three children to spend Christmas with him at Queen Katherine Parr’s urging.
Entry 41- Jan 1547- Death of His Majesty King Henry VIII
Entry 42- January 28, 1547-Prince Edward VI becomes King
Entry 43- January 1547-Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, becomes the Lord Protector
Entry 44- 1547- Richmond Castle and Bletchingley confiscated from me
Entry 45- 1549- Riots and rebellions-Scotland and France.
Entry 46- 1549- John Dudley 1st Earl of Warwick and then Duke of Northumberland 1551 replaces the Duke of Somerset
Entry 47- 1549-The dark years-The King’s Step-Aunt.-salaries for staff delayed
Entry 48- February 1553- King Edward VI becomes ill and names Lady Jane Grey as his heir.
Entry 49- July 6, 1553-King Edward VI dies at age 15.
Entry 50- July 10, 1552 Lady Grey taken to the Tower of London for her protection
Entry 51- July 14, 1553- Duke of Northumberland leaves London with 3,000 troops to Cambridge to find Lady Mary I. Reaches Cambridge July 15, 1553.
Entry 52- July 15, 1553- Mary I rallies her forces at Framlingham Castle in Suffolk with 20,000 troops
Entry 53-July 19, 1553- The Privy Council realize they made a mistake in appointing Lady Jane Grey, led by the Earl of Arundel, and the Earl of Pembroke, proclaim Mary I as Queen.
Entry 54- July 24, 1553- Lord Arundel arrests the Duke of Northumberland for treason
Entry 55-August 22, 1553- Duke of Northumberland beheaded
Entry 56- July 10, 1553 Lady Grey, Lord Guildford Dudley, and others arrested
Entry 57- September 30, 1553-Mary I, becomes Queen of England, Coronation ( I and Lady
Elizabeth rides in the carriage with Queen Mary)
Entry 58- Oct. 1-1553- Queen Mary I- Coronation feast, (I sit at the head of the table with Queen
Entry 59- Fall of 1553- My appeal to Queen Mary I to restore my finances that the Duke of
Northumberland took away.
Entry 58- February 12, 1554- Lady Jane Grey beheaded in the tower of London
Entry 60- 1554-Lady Elizabeth I, and myself (days at St. Augustine’s apartment)
Entry 61- 1554-Troubling times for Mary I- Wyatt rebellion-troubling times for Protestants. I
convert to Catholicism as Queen Mary I’s request.
Entry 62-March 18,1554-Princess Elizabeth imprisoned in the Tower of London for eight weeks.
Entry 63- Princess Elizabeth transferred from the Tower of London to
Entry 64- July 25, 1554- Queen Mary I marries Philip of Spain
Entry 65- August 1554- Queen Mary I announces she is pregnant, phantom pregnancy.
Entry 66- Queen Mary I returns England to Roman Catholicism and
burns 300 Protestants at the stake.
Entry 67- October 16, 1555-Protestants Latimer and Ridley are burned at the stake.
Entry 68-June-July 1557-My Long Illness and my final days at Chelsea Old Manor where
Catherine Parr had lived
Entry 69-July 1557-My Last will and testament
Entry 70- July 16, 1557- My last breath
Entry 1- My Youth-September 22, 1515-1539
Now that I am twelve years of age I have decided to record the events of my life.
I was born a German princess on September 22, 1515 in Dusseldorf Germany. I was the second child born to Duke John III Of the Dutchy of Cleve’s. My mutter or mother was Mary of Julich. I am told my parents were disappointed that they did not have a son. It was no matter since a year later my brother William was born, and then after him my youngest sister Amelia was born.
Cleve’s was a wonderful place to grow up. It was situated on the Rhine River, and it bordered Hapsburg, Netherlands. Nearby was the village of Cleves. It was a small village with many common folk. We were brought up as strict Catholics by my mother, however my father was a Lutherans. His view of religion was to love God, and hate the Roman Catholic Church, and the Pope. Father did not agree with mother in being Catholic. He was more interested in reform and breaking away from the Pope and Rome in promoting Lutheranism. Mother on the other hand was a devote Catholic, and she tried to bring us up in the Catholic tradition, but father
would not allow it. Mutter (mother) used to take us to the Rhine River often to see the boats. I loved watching the fisherman on the Rhine when I was young. Life was simple in those days.
Mutter (Mother) was always spending time with us. She trained my sisters and I how to be good wives for our future husbands, by making us skilled in stitching. Meine my mutter (mother) would spend hours with me, since I was clumsy with the use of the needle. Father sent William, my brother, away early for formal training. We all missed William when he left, most of all mother missed her
Son dearly. My sisters, and I only received domestic training as was proper in Cleves at the time. It was a German tradition to prepare women to serve their husbands. Mother was a strict Catholic, and she brought us up to fear the lord, but father always had the final word, and we were considered Lutherans according to him. My Uncle, who was a Lutheran, influenced my brother William in his religious beliefs. Father believed in the reformation, and the teachings of the great scholar Erasmus, but mother had the upper hand in what religion we children would learn when father was not around. We seldom saw father except on holidays. He was always busy with the Duties of Duke of Cleves and the court.
Music in the court of Cleve’s was frowned upon as I was growing up. It was believed to be a frivolous waste of time. Later some of the more strict Protestants associated music with the devil. I would have liked to have learned how to play a flute, if I had only been given the opportunity.
Sybilla, my older sister and I were very close, and often played together pretending to be Princesses. Amelia, my other sister, was a little young for us so we did not share as much with her. I was mother’s favorite; at least that is what she told me. We spent many happy hours together over the years of my youth.
Swan Castle, Cleve, Germany, 1515
The castle of Cleve’s (Swan Castle) was a great old castle that stood across the Rhine from a village that was often governed by the French King. My room very large and was next to Sybille’s room. Amelia’s room was down the hallway from our rooms. I could see the Rhine River from my bedroom, and the mountains beyond. Growing up was blissful, and before I knew it at age 12, (1527), father was arranging for my marriage to Francis the 10-year-old son of the Duke of Lorraine. Fortunately, this proposed marriage was cancelled. I had no desire to leave my family, and marry someone I did not know. Mother said that it was my duty to marry to form allegiances with other Princes. I guess romance was never to be considered in a marriage? I am a simple German princess with simple ideas about marriage. Living a comfortable lifestyle was most important. No princess wanted a poor marriage, especially me.
We never enjoyed playing cards as they did in the England or the French courts. My mother taught me being a good wife was skill enough for any noble woman. At Swan castle in Cleves everything was provided for me making life easy for me. I wasn’t lazy; rather my mother and father spoiled me. I had dozens of servants waiting on me everyday
Sibylle of Cleves by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1526.
Entry 2- Sept. 1527 age 14
On a cold day in September of the year 1527, I am 14 years of age. My father Duke John Frederick betrothed my dear elder sister Sybilla to Prince Johann Friedrich of Saxony in Schloss Burg an der Wupper. I told Sybilla that I did not want her to go, but she had to obey father. I was told that this was an important alliance for our family. Poor Sybilla she had never known a boy or had any opportunity to be familiar with any boys. It was such a sad day for me for my older sister and best friend was leaving perhaps to never return.
Saxony was strongly a Lutheran Dutchy, and would make a strong ally to Cleves, mother told me. Today, Sybilla left our castle. A beautifully gilded coach was sent to pick her up along with additional coaches for her maids, and personal assistants. We all cried together at the gate as she got into the coach. Mother bid her well, and asked that she write to tell us how she was doing. She waved at us from the window of the coach, and before we knew it she was off in the distance headed for her new life. That was the last time I saw Sybilla.
Things were very quiet in the castle after Sybilla left. Mother spent all her time with Amelia and I. We took long walks to the Rheine River, and spent many happy hours talking about the imaginary Princes that we would one day marry. Mother had a wonderful imagination. We spent many hours reading the Bible, and discussing what the passages meant.
Chapel was every morning early before breakfast. We attended Chapel before Sybilla left this morning. Tonight we would celebrate compline in the evening. mutter (mother) loved to sing at chapel, and I tried to copy her, but God did not give me a strong singing voice.
Soon we heard from Sybilla that her marriage had gone according to plan. She met her future husband, and he was a handsome, and proper man, a perfect Prince. We all longed to see Sybilla again, but that was not to be. She was far away now in another Kingdom serving her husband in Saxony.
William, my brother, was away being educated away from home, and we never got to see him except on holidays. Mother was very sad, and she confided in me that she really did not want Sybilla to leave our family, but it was what father wanted and therefore, it had been done. We prayed at Mass for Sybilla and William for God to watch over them.
Entry Three- The year 1539, April 3, age 24
I have not written since Sybilla left Swan Castle. A great sadness has overwhelmed me. Much time has passed by. I turn 24, this September. Mother and I have spent many happy years together, and she has protected me from being married off to some foreign King or Prince. Father has passed away, and my brother William is now the Duke of Cleves, and he is interested in marrying me off for his own gain.
Today is April 3 of the year of our Lord, 1539. News came that King Henry VIII of England, by way of an envoy, to inquire about my hand in marriage, and my younger sister Amelia. He was a young man, whose name I do not remember, but he had long blond hair, and was related to one of the Nobles in King Henry’s Court. When he arrived, he asked for an audience with my brother William the Duke of Cleves. After talking with this envoy for a while, William summoned Amelia, and myself to hear the envoys description of King Henry VIII. He described King Henry VIII as a tall man, over six feet tall, with curly red hair. He said that the King was handsome, strong with light skin, but with a ruddy complexion. He went on to describe how exciting it was to be a part of the King’s court where he, the envoy, had been many times himself. This helped Amelia and I who had no picture of the King and had to imagine what he looked like in my mind. It was exciting to know that a King was interested in one of us for his bride. I was to be 24, come next September, and not getting any younger.
Duke William of Cleves, my brother, was now responsible for my betrothal and a proposed treaty with the King of England to support England in case the French tried to invade England. William also had to promise a dowry with his limited funds to King Henry VIII for him to accept me, as was the custom. I heard William talking about how he needed an alliance against the Holy Roman Empire and France. A treaty and marriage with England would create an ally with King Henry VIII that would protect my brother and his land holdings in Cleves and surrounding communities.
Several months after the envoy’s visit on a sunny day in August of 1539, I was in the garden with mother tending to the flowers that were blooming. One of our house servants came running into the garden looking for my brother William the Duke of Cleves. The servant said that some envoys from King Henry VIII of England had arrived at the front gate. The King’s envoys Nicholas Wotton and Robert Barnes came to Cleves to assured William, Amelia and I, that the King was a kind and generous man, and that our marriage would be something made in heaven. They portrayed King Henry VIII as a just man who was a bit of a romantic that only wanted to have more than one male heir. I must admit I was intrigued at the image of the King they portrayed. William was not so impressed. All he wanted was a treaty to protect his lands.
Entry 4 -Spring of 1539- Court Painter-Hans Holbein arrives in Cleves
Recently a painter from the royal court of King Henry VIII named Hans Holbien (the Younger), arrived to paint a picture of Amelia, and myself. The portraits of my sister Amelia, and myself he would show to the King, so that he could decide whom he wished to marry. It was difficult sitting still for such a long time for Hans. We talked about his wife, and his life at the English court. He was a very engaging speaker. I wore one of my best German princess dresses with jewelry for the painting. Amelia also wore one of her best dresses for her painting. I hoped that the King would find our portraits acceptable and the long process of negotiations would come to an end.
I was told that Edward his young son by his third wife Jane Seymour was his only heir, and Queen Jane had died in childbirth leaving a saddened King without a Queen. Perhaps this would be my imaginary Prince from a foreign land? I also heard rumors that his second wife, Ann was beheaded, and he divorced his first wife, and disowned her daughter Mary. It seemed the King had problems with his wives, and I am fearful of his reputation. I had nightmares last night of having my head cut off because I did something to anger the King. I could not sleep, and sat up in my bed most of the night.
Entry 5-August 1539- Hans Holbein Returns to England
An envoy has informed my brother Duke William that the court painter, Hans Holbeing has returned safely to England to show the paintings to King Henry VIII of England.
Entry 6- October 6, 1539 –Negotiations and Treaty
After many negotiations my brother Duke William decided to allow me to marry King Henry VIII, and to provide the King with a small dowry in accepting me as his fourth wife. Plans were made around November of 1539 to have me and my entourages accompany me to England to be married to King Henry VIII. My brother William did not have any funds for my dowry, so King Henry VIII agreed to accept me as his bride, without a dowry, in last minute negotiations.
I have heard from my brother Duke William that travel by the North Sea was too dangerous, and that he requested that King Henry VIII ask Mary of Hungry for safe passage for my retinue and myself. King Henry VIII received permission from Mary of Hungry in place of Charles I of the Holy Roman Empire for my safe passage through the Lowlands to Calais, an English controlled port on the English Channel. My preparations to depart to England were going slowly with mother and Amelia helping me with my many different dresses.
Entry 7- Departure-November 1539
We left in my chariot on a cloudy cold day in November 1539, with my retinue of 263 people. We traveled slowly each day over the bumpy frozen roads. Mistress Gilmyn traveled with me on the long journey, and we talked all the way to keep busy. I was wrapped warmly in furs to withstand the winter cold. Lady Keteler, and twelve other of my ladies followed us in separate carriages. Personally I was very excited to be treated like a true German Princess. It was the most attention I had since my first communion.
We traveled only five miles each day on cold and icy roads. Finally, we arrived at Antwerp on December 3, 1539. We settled in for the night after a wonderful reception and a most inviting banquet in my honor. I was very excited about all the fanfare. It was the first time I drank wine other than communion. Mistress Gilmyn talked about our fantasy princes and what life might be like in mysterious England during dinner. We left Antwerp the next day traveling until we arrived at Bruges on Dec. 7th. Next, we traveled to Dambrugh, Newport, and then Dunkirk. I was beginning to feel sick from bouncing around in the carriage.
Finally we reached Gravelines on Dec. 10th, just a few miles outside Calais. The winter scenery was beautiful at this time of the year with frozen fields, grape orchards, and many cattle roaming around barren fields.
Entry 8- December 11, 1539-My Arrival in Calais
A reception committee from Calais met us that day on a Friday. The nobles, Lord Lisle Lord deputy of Calais, and Lord Gregory Cromwell along with other nobles were happy to meet us outside of Calais. The Nobles from England had been waiting for our arrival for several days. Later, as we approached Calais, the Earl of Southhampton, High Admiral of England, along with thirteen other nobles met us. The very generous Mayor of Calais presented me with one hundred marks in gold as a gift when we arrived in the town of Calais. The following day the High Admiral showed me the many ships from England in the harbor. They were all decorated with purple cloth to celebrate the occasion. I was surprised to see so many ships. It was the first time I had ever seen the ocean. The ocean stretched as far as I could see to the horizon. I could smell the salt in the air from the ocean. It was a wondrous smell. The sea gulls flew in circles above her screeching their loud cries. It was a wonderful scene that day that will always be etched in my mind.
A cannon salute was given in my honor with loud booming sounds heard around the harbor. My ears were ringing from the loud sound of the cannons. Truly England had a most impressive fleet of ships.
Afterward, we returned to another banquet and a display of jousting. I retired to my bed very tired that evening, but excited at the entire fan fare. I longed to see the handsome King. I had some difficulty speaking English with the Nobles, but they were most patient with me even though none of them could speak German or high Dutch as some referred to my language. I had to do a lot of gestures with my hands because I did could not speak English. My mother had trained me as best she could in simple English expressions like “Good Day,” and “I am glad to meet you.” It was not enough to understand the English who spoke their language so fast that I could not understand what they were saying.
Entry 9- December 13-26, 1539- Bad Weather
On a misty morning of the day Dec. 13, 1539, we were supposed to sail to England, but the thick fog and rain made that impossible. Having heard that the King likes to play card games I begged the Earl of Southhampton if he would show me a card game. My interpreter helped me in speaking English to the Earl. He was most obliging and took time to sit down and showed me how to play cards. He taught me the game of “cent,” which was very popular at the time in England.
Each player receives 12 cards from a 32-card pack ranking 1 through 8 in each suit. They discard some of their cards and draw new cards from the deck of eight. The purpose of this is to improve the hand, so that it will produce and score for certain card combinations and subsequently win a majority of twelve tricks played at no trump. The Earl was most patient showing me and explaining English words like “trump” I learned how points are scored throughout until 100 is reached.
We played all day while the rain continued, until I was able to successfully win some points. I was grateful for the Earl for showing me this wonderful card game. I invited him and some of the Noble men to dinner with me that night. He was a little shy at first as my interpreter explained this was not the normal protocol for a Queen to be inviting men to dinner. I dismissed that stupidity and insisted they come for dinner so that I can learn more about English customs.
Entry 10- The crossing and landing at Deal, England
I spent fifteen days at Calais waiting for the weather to improve. Finally, on the morning of December 27th, the weather cleared and we set sail for England. This was the first time I had ever stepped foot aboard a ship. It was wonderful and scary experience at the same time. The admiral welcomed me aboard his ship. The sails puffed up quickly, and we were crossing the English Channel with ease. My retinue followed in many of the fifty ships made sail that day. All of my German ladies, lords, and servants, as well as my clothing were loaded aboard the many English ships.
After fifteen minutes the French coast faded into the mist, and we were finally on our way. A few hours later we landed at a city called Deal in Kent England around five o’clock in the afternoon. Sir Thomas Cheyne met me, and my ladies, and took us to rest at the newly built Deal castle. I was able to refresh myself, and my ladies, and change clothes to meet the King’s nobles. The Duke of Suffolk, and his young beautiful wife Catherine Willoughby came to meet us soon after. The Bishop of Chichester also came to welcome us. We were then escorted to Dover castle a short distance down the English coast. It was late at night around 11:00 pm that we arrived at Dover castle. I was exhausted and my ladies and I went to our apartments and retired for the evening. I dreamt all night of the rocking of the ship on the ocean and all the fanfare I had experienced in the last few weeks.
Entry 11- December 27, 1539 -January 1, 1540 Traveling from Castle to Castle.
The rain continued the next day again, but Sir Thomas and the Duke of Suffolk, thought it wise to press on despite the bad weather, so that we would not be forced to stay at less convenient places. The wagons bumped and spun through the mud and rocks and the journey was most unpleasant, but my ladies and I were in good spirits. My retinue of 263 nobles, ladies and servants continued on the muddy road for miles. Our next stop was to be at another English city called Canterbury. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Thomas Cranmer was to meet us when we arrived at Canterbury. The Archbishop looked much like a Catholic Bishop with his red robes and gold sewn designs on the collar and sleeves of his vestments. He looked very distinguishing when I first met him.
We entered the town and proceeded to the St. Augustine’s Abbey just outside the city walls. I was here we were to stay for the night. I was pleasantly surprised to see about 40 English gentlewomen in velvet bonnets awaiting me at the Abbey. I was introduced to all the English ladies whom King Henry had appointed to be my staff in England. My own ladies had to share some apartments since so many staff of mine was in attendance.
We had a feast that night and I forgot all about the terrible rain we experienced all daylong. I got to meet the Archbishop, and other bishops, as well as English Nobles and their ladies. It was all a wonderful experience at the feast. Everyone was joyful and made my ladies and me feel very welcome. The English made excellent beer and I took a liking to at the banquet. I began to wonder when I would meet the King and what he would look like?
The next day we were off to Sittingbourne on December 30, 1539, where we rested for a night. We proceeded on to Rochester the next day where I was greeted by the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Dacre of the South, Lord Mountjoy, and a large gathering of English Knights, Esquires, and Barons of the Exchequer, all wearing velvet coats and gold chains. They were dressed most admirably. We were then escorted to the palace where we would stay for the night. I spoke with my ladies often how my first meeting with the King would be. I longed to see him soon after this terribly long journey in dark and rainy weather. I hope it does not rain all the time in England as it has over the past few weeks. Time will tell I imagine?
Entry 9- December 31, 1539-New Years Eve
I am truly tired from traveling so much over such a long journey. It was New Years Eve, and my journey from Cleves to meet my Betrothed King Henry VIII was almost over. Soon I would meet my handsome King. I had been traveling for almost a month now over the Lowlands in Germany, to Calis, and then onto Dover, England. It was a cold winter crossing over the English Channel to England that took an entire day.
I had never seen England before, and the White Cliffs of Dover were beautiful with a castle perched on the upper slope as we approached the shores of England on December 27, 1539.
On New Years Eve the Duke of Norfolk and other nobleman escorted me to the Abbey at Rochester. I was tired so I withdrew to my quarters. I had not had an opportunity to bath yet, and I was exhausted. I put some grease on my face to keep my skin soft and considered retiring, however the towns people brought a bull and some dogs to demonstrate bull baiting in the Castle courtyard below my window. The bull was tied to a stake and the dogs tied together in twos attempted to attack the bull. The bull mortally wounded some dogs, and others managed to wound the dangerous bull. I had never seen a sport like this before in all its gore and savagery. I stood at the window watching the spectacle below.
I longed to see my handsome betrothed King Henry, whom I had never
seen before this day. A little while later when I was looking out my window, a fat old English man, with a hood over his head, rudely burst into my room. He had a marbled colored coat and hood on, and I paid him no mind. Perhaps he had come to clean the room? He could have been the cleaning fritz for I all I know. As the stranger entered my room, he said something in English, that I could not understand without my interpreter, who had already retired. Several English nobles also in hoods over their heads entered my apartment. My ladies in my apartment and I were afraid of these strange men who did not identify themselves.
Before I knew it the ruffian charged across the room, embraced me, and kissed me upon the lips. I was most frightened by the rude stranger. I pushed him away. He seemed surprised by my reaction. I turned to my ladies for assistance. I wanted to shout for help. Fear crept up my spine, and I felt helpless, and alone. Did he not know that I was a German princess of noble birth? How dare he attempt to attack me, and remove my modesty? I pushed the obese old man away. It was then I noticed that he had red hair and was balding. I was confused and repulsed by this ugly fat man. Finally I got the courage to scream for help, but none of the English gentlemen came to my aid. Jesus protect me from this assault, I cried out in German, “Jesus hilf mir.” Surely, I would become pregnant, and never be a virgin again. I had never known a man before in my entire life. My mother kept me away from German boys for my own protection, she often told me. The stranger tried to show me a gift after I screamed, and pushed him away. He offered me some furs for some reason. I could not understand what he was saying because he spoke in English so rapidly. I asked him who he was? “Please, kind Sir, pray who are thou?” “Why hast thou taken liberties with me?” I said. He could not speak German, and mumbled something in French, that I could not understand. I begged him to leave or I would summon the Duke of Norfolk to protect me. The stranger looked shocked after I pushed him away. He was a tall old obese man with pale white skin as if he never gone out into the sun. I was trembling from fright and crying from the old man’s assault on me. My ladies attempted to assist me but they could not speak English either.
Finally he withdrew from my room, bowing for some reason as he left. As I was recovering from the frightful attack, the old man returned to my chambers yet again. I begged him to leave. He did not understand. This time he was wearing the purple robes of nobility. The other men that came with him all bowed, as he entered my apartment. “Could this old man be of royalty?” I asked myself. I understood the one phrase in English, “I am King Henry,” he said. Shocked, and in disbelief, I suddenly I realized this fat old balding man was my betrothed Henry the King of England. I was embarrassed and shocked at the same time. He was nothing as my mother told me he would be. He was old, grossly obese, balding, and not at all handsome or athletic. I asked him in my poor English, “are ye the King.” “Yes,” He replied. “Forgive me your highness,” I said. He did not seem to understand when I spoke in German. I tried again in English, “Forgive me your highness.” I dropped to my knees. He took my hand, and bid me rise. The nobles left the apartment and did not return.
Afterward we sat on the edge of my bed and I dismissed my ladies. His majesty and I tried to talk to one another in broken English. It was a most difficult task, even though I had some lessons in learning English. The King seemed to know no German at all and kept using some French phrases he knew, but I could not understand. I could not understand the King because he spoke so fast in English. He sat very close to me, and I was very nervous and afraid. I feared I would pee myself. He put his arm around me next, and I was sure he was going to try and have his way with me. I could not breathe. The king was very nervous also, and
Was breathing heavily down my neck. “What was he trying to do?” I asked myself. “Bitte, please heir Henry,” I begged him to stop. He paid me no mind. He said something in English, which I did not understand and slipped his, hand down the front of my dress. He struggled to feel my breasts, under my corset. He was breathing even more heavily now as he ravaged me. I was shocked that he would treat a princess this way. I asked him to stop in German “bitte,” I said in English, “please stop your highness.” He ignored me again. He pinched my small breasts. He was hurting me, and I cried out, bitte (please). Before I knew it he was pulling down his britches and exposing his einr Deutschland wurst. The smell from his crotch made me sick. It was like the smell of dead fish in the sun. I almost fainted from the odor. There in front of my face was the King’s sausage surrounded by red crotch hairs resembling a red bush. It was smaller than I had imagined. He grabbed my head and pushed my face toward his sausage.
For a moment I felt a twinge, but it passed as I tried to fight him off, I could not
let this fat man take my virginity before our marriage. He was a barbarian, and
he smelled. I had not bathed or changed my clothes in days and I imagine I did not smell good to him. The grease was still on my face and I had no makeup on to make me look the least pretty.
As the King attempted to bury his head in my dress the smell of my bodily sweat, and two days wearing the same garment assailed his nose, and he turned away in disgust. I was saved from the fat man. Next, he backed away from me, and I think he cursed me in English? He pulled up his britches and left the room. I was exhausted and frightened from fighting the balding, old obese King. I know he was upset with me, but I am a German Princess of High breeding, not a common whore or mistress.
Later there was a knock at the door and I thought he was coming back for more carnal pleasures. “Your majesty it is I, Lord Anthony Brown with some presents from his majesty the King. I will leave the furs at the door so as not to disturb you. Then there was silence, and they were all gone. Apparently the King had several furs to give me as presents, since originally I thought he was only giving me one sable fur.
I could not sleep all night thinking how grossly obese the King was, and how he treated me like a common whore. I was very disappointed that the handsome King I had envisioned, did not exist. What I saw was nota slim young man, but an old obese man with balding red hair and a limp in his walk. It was then that I realized that my life was going to prove difficult if he wanted to always feel my breasts, and force me to suck his thing all the time. Having never laid with a man before made this experience was all the more fearful. I prayed to Jesus to help me. My mother had never prepared me for something like what happened this night. I slept poorly all night long.
Entry 11- January 1540-The reception at Blackheath
The next day our next stop was at Blackheath where many beautiful tents were set up to receive us. Many English Nobleman, and women came out to greet me speaking in the English language. It seemed no one knew any German words at all? My Interpreter was very helpful
in understanding what they said. Soon, I would meet my future husband the King again, but under more favorable circumstances than last night. I struggled to understand this strange language called English, but I had to have my Interpreter to tell me what everyone was saying.
At last his majesty the King arrived on his horse, and I mounted a horse to show him, I was a woman who could ride a horse. We met just outside Blackheath in a meadow. He embraced me, and greeted me speaking his native language of English. I had practiced my English response for when I met the King. “O what a sight was this to se so goodly a prince, and so noble a
King to ride with so fayre a lady of so goodly a stature, and so womanly a Countenance,” I said in the best English I could. Drums and trumpets sounded as we rode into the town. As we both dismounted our horses together the King kissed me on the cheek, and led me into the great hall. There he took me to my apartments, where I would stay and refresh myself. He bid me “goodbye,” in English as he left the apartments. For a moment things seemed to be going
well. That was not long to last.
Entry 12- The King’s council inquiry
A day later, in January 1540, the King’s council summoned me to swear that I was free from any precontract such as my betrothal to Francis of Lorraine when I was just 11 years of age. Somehow the council was confused as to whether the contract to marry was still in force. I was confused as to why at this late date they were bringing up an old subject about a betrothal that never came about? As I explained to the council, with my interpreter that the original betrothal was cancelled, and the documents no longer existed, and were destroyed. They seemed disappointed for some reason, as I read the expression of doubt on their faces.
Entry 13- January 1540-The King and I attending Mass together
Later that day the King summoned me to attend mass with him. He was again polite, but distant. I wanted to ask him why the council was concerned about a cancelled betrothal. But I did not get the opportunity to speak personally with the King, even though he was right next to me in the mass. I felt confused all that day. “Had I not pleased his majesty,” I kept asking myself, over and over.”
On the next day my ambassadors informed me that the King had signed three documents granting me land as part of my dowry. I learned that the King had appointed the people for my personal household that day also. Sadly, many of my retinue was instructed by the King to return to Cleves. The King had appointed English people for my personal household and ladies in Waiting. A feast was given by his majesty in honor of my servants that were returning to Cleves.
The Earl of Rutland was to be my chamberlain. Other gentlemen of the courts were appointed as my Chancellor, Master of horse, Personal secretary, and Receiver General. I asked my ambassadors to invite these gentlemen to my apartments so that I might come to know
them. The were all very courteous and honored to serve the Queen of England.
One of my ladies appointed by the King was his niece Lady Margaret Douglas, and his majesty’s daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Richmond. The Duchess of Suffolk, whom I had met before was also appointed as one of my ladies. Also included was the Countess of Suffolk, and Lady
Rochford, (sister in-law of Anne Boleyn). I was surprised that Lady Rochford was appointed, since she was the sister in law of Queen Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded for treason. Mistress Gilmyn, and Annie Bassett (daughter of the Lady Lisle) were also appointed to wait upon me.
I received all of these ladies kindly, and through my interpreter, I explained I would try hard to learn to speak in English so that they could understand me. I was very upset at my retinue being forced to return to Cleves, and I did not understand why the King did not ask me before commanding that I receive a new household staff.
Two days later on the evening of January 5th, his majesty the King informed me that the marriage was to take place the following day on January 6, 1540. My ambassadors had informed me that they had heard rumors that the King’s council was investigating my marriage contract for some unknown reason. Could it be that the King was unhappy with me? I did not know. Jesus be with me in these troubled times I prayed.
Entry 14- January 6, 1540 -The Marriage
On January 6, 1540 I was married to King Henry VIII King of England at age 25. I knew something was wrong right from the beginning. He was courteous to me in public, but in private he ignored me. Somehow we had gotten off to a bad start after he tried to rape me in Greenwich.
It was a surprise that did not work for either of us. His aloofness was difficult for me to deal with. I did not know how to communicate with him. I wore my best dress of gold for the wedding that day. His majesty had given me a crown of gold to wear, and I wore it proudly. The Earl of Essex was to come to my apartments and lead my ladies and me to the church. I waited and waited for the Earl, but he was late. His majesty was getting impatient waiting also, and he sent Lord Cromwell instead. Just as Lord Cromwell arrived at my apartments, the Earl of Essex finally appeared, and he escorted my ladies, and me to the King’s chapel. There was a heavy fog outside that day. It was around 8:00 in the morning, when we arrived at the chapel. I did not sleep all night worrying about the wedding, and my inability to communicate with the King.
As the wedding ceremony began I kept quiet so as not to make a mistake in speaking English. Finally, the King put a ring on my left hand engraved with the words, “God send me well to keep.” It was a beautiful gold marriage ring, and it made me proud to be the Queen of England, despite some of the King’s rumored misgivings. After the ceremony we walked hand in hand to
the King’s closet, and heard Mass there. Afterward we dined together in all royal splendors. I could scarcely eat because I was so nervous, and upset over the King’s personal treatment of me.
Soon after the feast, I retired to my apartments afterward to rest, and dress for evening activities. I was told the King would celebrate Compline with me in the chapel in the evening, so I prepared all day for this event. My ladies helped me dress in a more English style that was less fancier than the German style I was used to. That evening the King escorted me to the chapel, and we celebrated Compline together, singing wonderful English songs that I mumbled through.
Finally, we retired to the Kings quarters, and were ceremonially put to bed by my ladies and gentlemen of the court. Standing around the King’s bed were all the King’s noblemen, ladies and knights. It was a large crowd all crammed into the King’s quarters. They were all there to witness the King consummating his marriage to the Queen. They remained for about a half hour, and then after hearing fake moans, and groans from the King, they were satisfied, and they all retired from the King’s chambers.
When everyone had left, and we were alone, the King removed his cloak, and helped me remove mine. He kissed me on the cheek, and then sat on the bed. I nervously removed my outer garments, and corset that was choking me to death. The King asked me to lie back on the bed as he disrobed in front of me. His fat sagging belly stuck out like a mountain of lard. His sausage was so small, I could hardly see it. I tried to look the other way, as he stood naked in front of me.
“How would we consummate this first night of marriage,” I thought to myself? This was soon to be revealed as he took my hand, and placed it on his small sausage. Squeezing my hand over his sausage he gestured for me to slide my hand up and down his sausage. I was very nervous and his sausage smelled like a week old dead fish. Holding my breath I held his sausage and
pulled it up and down. No erection occurred after pulling on his sausage for many minutes. What had my life come to be for me pulling the penis of a fat obese King of forty-eight years of age? I pretended to be back in Cleves, and happily playing with a toy. The King began moaning, and I took that to be a good sign. I spread my legs so that he would penetrate me, but instead, he moaned, rolled over and went to sleep. I was left with a snoring obese king in the bed who was
unable to keep his sausage hard enough to penetrate me. I felt guilty that I did not do more to arouse him. Sex seemed so difficult, when before I had always dreamed it would be so beautiful.
So went the first night with my lord the King. His majesty did not come to my chambers the next night, however on the 3rd night he came again to spend the night with me to pretend to consummate the marriage. He tried his best, but he was truly impotent, and embarrassed to admit it to me. Once again he wanted me to pull on his sausage that I did to please him. His sausage was small and shriveled, and covered with red hair. I stroked his sausage many
time to get it to become hard, but it never did. His majesty ran his hands over my breasts, and began panting hard. I thought he might have an attack or something while we were making love. He sucked on my breasts, but still his sausage would not become hard.
Finally, he rolled over “Good night my lady,” and pretended to be asleep. Feeling that the lovemaking was over I washed my face and hands in a bowl to remove the smell of his majesty’s private parts. I realized then that having a child with the King was going to be impossible because he was impotent. Perhaps I could speak with Lord Cromwell about the problem? The King would not want anyone to know about his personal problems in the bed with his Queen? Lord Cromwell seemed to be avoiding me for some reason. I will try to speak with him at the earliest opportunity.
Entry 15- The Jousts at Greenwich castle
In honor of our marriage a joust was to be held at Greenwich later that week. I decided to wear a dress more suitable to the English women’s dresses to please the King. My ladies had told me that the German style of clothing was not followed in England. The jousting was a wonderful event with many English nobles, and their ladies in attendance. The English enjoyed celebrations, I could tell. I enjoyed myself sitting next to the King during the jousts. Finally, I began to feel like a Queen. Lord Cromwell kept avoiding me at the jousts for some reason, making it impossible for me to talk to him about the King’s personal problems in bed.
Entry 16- Solitude and the Invisible King
After four weeks at Greenwhich, my retinue, and I were moved by his majesty to Westminister on February 4, 1540. A courier told me that there was a plague in London and the country air would be healthier for my staff and I. We traveled by boat down the river to Westminister. His majesty traveled in a separate barge as well as the Mayor of London. The sky was overcast and foggy as usual, but the day brightened as the hours went by. We had a grand procession with flags flying from the barges, and trumpets sounding. After our journey down the river that day in early February, I did not see his majesty until Easter in March 1540.
I spoke with my ambassadors and they heard through the court gossip was that the King was not happy with me as his wife, and that he married me only to prevent war with the French. I was truly sad, and beside myself for I wanted to be the Queen. After reflection, I decided that perhaps it was for the best for me not to have to bed an obese King every night. I did not want to end up the way his previous Queen Anne Boleyn did in being beheaded.
Entry 17- Easter –March 1540
At Easter time the King invited me to view another jouste. The King was in a good mood, but it was all for public show. We never talked personally that day. Lord Cromwell continued to avoid me at the jouste for some unknown reason. The Easter Jouste would be the last time I would see his majesty until summer. I did not know it at the time, but he and his council were plotting how the King could get out of our marriage, and not start a war with my brother Duke William of Cleves. The King was sending me away from the court as he did his previous wives when they displeased him. What was to become of my life? I keep busy keeping my staff in order and learning English from my ladies in waiting. My ambassadors warned me that, “what the King wanted, the King got,” and perhaps it would be wise to let him out of the marriage, rather than drag things out like Katherine of Aragon, his first wife had done. He sent her away, reduced her staff, and cut her allowance leaving her in poverty for years. I did not want that to happen to me. I received several letters from my brother William, Duke of Cleves, inquiring as to my health and situation. I could not be honest with him, nor could I return to Cleves in disgrace. I lied to William and told him everything was fine in England and that his majesty King Henry was most generous and gracious to me.
Entry 18- His majesty gives Kathryn Howard a present of Land
My ambassador informed me that heard in the court that His majesty gave Kathryn Howard, my lady in waiting, a present of land that was confiscated from two murders. This seemed to be a very confusing event since he was married to me and giving one of my servants a gift of land seemed most unusual and improper. I was worried that he was more interested in Kathryn Howard than he was in me.
Entry 19- April 30-May 7, 1540-May day celebrations
His majesty celebrated May-day with traditional Jousts and an open house at Durham palace. His majesty was again very proper in public but in private he completely ignored me at the jousts and the May-day feasts. I felt alone and abandoned. My ambassador tried to encourage me, but it was to no avail. I was beginning to feel like his first wife Katherine of Aragon when she was isolated and stripped of her funds for not allowing the King to divorce her. I was miserable the entire time during the May-day festival. His majesty seemed to be in another country and never spoke to me once except in public when he put on his false display of affection by holding my hand.
Entry 20- Rumors regarding Katherine Howard- June 20, 1540
Today I complained to my Ambassador Harst about the rumors concerning Katherine Howard and his majesty. He assured me that it was only a temporary romance that would eventually go away. I was not assured of his confidence. He did reveal to me that Katherine Howard had left the court and we both took that to be good news.
Entry 20- June 22 and 24, 1540- St. John the Baptist holiday
Later on June 22, 1540, my household, and I were moved to Richmond Castle, by order of the king’s council. I was told to vacate Hever castle immediately, and move to the larger Richmond castle, which was further away from London.
Rumors were spreading everywhere that the Catholic Nobles wanted Lord Cromwell out of the picture and were plotting with the King to have him removed for forcing my marriage on the King. I was shocked when I hear these stories. In addition my maid of honor, Katherine Howard was reported being seen in court several times with the King. She had told me she was going to visit her family and asked for me to give her leave. I had no idea that she was sneaking back to the King’s court instead to flirt with the King. She was only fifteen years of age and had no idea what a dangerous game she was playing. My ambassador revealed to me that her Uncle and other relatives were using her to get to the King and have both
Entry 22- June 24, 1540- St. John the Baptist Holiday
In June of 1540, I received word from the King’s council that the King intended to annul our marriage on the grounds that there was a previous betrothal and that the marriage was never consummated. I signed the letter allowing the King’s council to proceed with the annulment even though I did not feel it was fair. My body shook with nerves, and I almost fainted after receiving the news about what the King intended to do. After I recovered from the shock that King had annulled our marriage, I decided that to keep my head and remain on the King’s best
side. I met with my ambassador Carl Harst and we discussed all the possibilities of how to react to the King. We both agreed that the King did not take “No,” for an answer and it would be in my best interests to comply and move on with my life.
Entry 22- July 6, 1540- The move to Richmond castle from Durham Castle is complete.
The Kings council wasted no time moving my retinue and I out of Durham Castle to Richmond castle to be further away from the Kings Court in London. My staff was confused as to why we were moving so I explained to them the King desired me to have a larger castle and he hoped I would restore Richmond castle which had fallen on hard times. Upon moving into Richmond castle, I noticed that the King had started many renovations, but never finished them. The curtains and drapes were all torn and worn out. The kitchen was a mess with outdated pots and shelves all of which I set about redesigning and replacing all the worn fabrics to bring Richmond castle up to date with the times and fashion.
Entry 25- July 9, 1540- Parliament declares my marriage to his majesty null and void, and it is therefore annulled.
The Kings Council wasted no time declaring my marriage to the King, null and void. This was all arranged to meet the desire of the King to discard me and find another younger woman. Even as the annulment was announced, the King was secretly meeting with my Maid of Honor, Catherine Howard who was only a young girl at the time. I was hurt and furious at the same time. What had I gotten myself into with this phony marriage to a fat King that wanted nothing more than to abuse young women to fill his desires and fantasies. I was determined
Entry 26- July 10, 1540- my letter to his majesty regarding the annulment.
After receiving the bad news of the annulment being official my ambassador and I drafted a letter together that said I would comply with his majesty’s wishes. “Pleaseth your most excellent majesty to understand that, whereas, at sundry times heretofore, I have been informed and perceived by certain lords and others your grace’s council, of the doubts and questions which
have been moved and found in our marriage; and how hath petition thereupon been made to your highness by your nobles and commons, that the same might be examined and determined by the holy clergy of this realm; to testify to your highness by my writing, that which I have
before promised by my word and will, that is to say, that the matter should be examined and determined by the said clergy; it may please your majesty to know that, though this case must needs be most hard and sorrowful unto me, for the great love which I bear to your most noble person, yet, having more regard to God and his truth than to any worldly affection, as it beseemed me, at the beginning, to submit me to such examination and determination of the said clergy, whom I have and do accept for judges competent in that behalf. So now being ascertained
how the same clergy hath therein given their judgment and sentence, I acknowledge myself hereby to accept and approve the same, wholly and entirely putting myself, for my state and condition, to your highness’ goodness and pleasure; most humbly beseeching your majesty that, though it be determined that the pretended matrimony between us is void and of
none effect, whereby I neither can nor will repute myself for your grace’s wife, considering this sentence (whereunto I stand) and your majesty’s clean and pure living with me, yet it will please you to take me for one of your humble servants, and so determine of me, as I may sometimes have the fruition of your most noble presence; which as I shall esteem for a great benefit, so, my lords and others of your majesty’s council, now being with me, have put me in comfort thereof; and that your highness will take me for your sister; for the which I most humbly thank you
accordingly. Thus, most gracious prince, I beseech our Lord God to send your majesty long life and good health, to God’s glory, your own honor, and the wealth of this noble realm. From Richmond, the 11th day of July, the 32nd year of your majesty’s most noble reign.
Your majesty’s most humble sister and servant, Anne the daughter of
Entry 27- July 28, 1540- Lord Cromwell is executed for treason
On July 28, 1540, I heard from my ambassador Harst that Lord Cromwell, who had been in the tower of London since June, was taken and beheaded. I felt sad for his lordship. I remember well our first meeting in Cleves a year ago, and how he inquired from the King as to my availability for marriage. It was evident to me at that time that those that displease the King may well feel his wrath as Lord Cromwell had when he recommended me to be the Queen of England. He was blamed for the King not being satisfied with me, however, few people knew that the real reason was the King was impotent at the time and a sickly and grossly obese person suffering many illnesses not made known to the public or the council.
Entry 28- August 1540- His Majesty’s response
His majesty responded to my accepting the annulment without argument with an offer of 3,000 ducats a month allowance, so long I remain unmarried, and stay in England. In addition, he granted me a manor house in Lewes, Sussex, Richmond Castle, and Bletchingley Castle. I informed the King via my ambassador that I would graciously accepted his generous offer, and I had only one request that Henry’s youngest daughter Lady Elizabeth be allowed to visit me occasionally. The King granted this request and our annulment was finalized. I was to be a rich woman after all and that was something I could live with. Being the richest woman in England had its advantages after all.
The King’s council was further concerned that the annulment might create ill will between England and my brother William the Duke of Cleves, and therefore requested that I write William a letter and explain everything as being satisfactory.
The letter read as follows:
“My dear and well-beloved brother.
My most hearty commendations. Where by your letters of the 13th of this month, which I have seen written to the King’s Majesty of England, my most dear and King brother, I do perceive that you take the matter, latterly moved and determined between him and me, somewhat to heart. Forasmuch as I had rather you knew the truth by mine advertisement, than, for want thereof, you should be deceived by vain reports. I though meet to write these present letters unto you, by the which it shall lease you to understand that, being substantially advertised how the nobles and
commons of this Realm desired the King’s highness to commit the examination of the matter of the marriage between his Majesty and me, to the examination and determination of the whole Clergy of this Realm, I did then willingly consent thereunto. And since the determination made, have also, upon intimation of their proceedings, allowed, approved, and agreed unto the same, wherein I had more respect (as beseemed me) to trust than to any worldly affection, that might move me to the contrary. And di the rather condescend thereunto, for that my body remaineth in the integrity that I brought into this realm. And being the matter thus finished, to advertise you how I am used. Surely the king’s highness, whom I cannot now justly have, nor will repute, as
my husband, hath nevertheless taken and adopted me for his sister, and, as a most king, loving, and friend brother useth me, with as much or more humanity and liberality, as you, I myself, or any of our kin or allies, could well wish or desire
Your Sister Anne,”
Entry 29- A visit from his Majesty, July 21, 1540
Later during the month of July 21, 1540 his majesty made a surprise visit to my castle for dinner. We talked and enjoyed one another’s company. He was a different man completely. It was during dinner that he confided in me that he had married my Maid of Honor Catherine
Howard. I was shocked, and not pleased that my Maid of Honor was sneaking around behind my back with his majesty. My suspicions I had all along that my Maid of Honor Catherine Howard involved with King became true.
On July 18, 1540, the same day as his Lord Cromwell was beheaded for displeasing the King, his majesty married Lady Catherine Howard at Oatlands Castle. I was not pleased with this news but I could see how her beauty and young age was what the King really wanted. It was a
Shock, I would not soon forget. I felt rejected and ugly, but at least I still had my head on my shoulders, and the King had made me one of the wealthiest women in England. I guess I could live with that.
Later that same month of July, the King’s Commissioners arrived at Richmond Castle to discharge my officers and staff that had served me as Queen of England. I was given a new staff of English servants and attendants. They all arrived on the same day, and there was much confusion as my officers and staff moved out, and the new staff moved into my residence at Richmond Castle. I was in tears, and beside myself as my loyal officers and staff, had to leave me. I knew very little about the new staff that I was given, and by what criteria the King had
used to assign them to me. I was not happy with all of my staff initially. For all I knew they could all be spies for the King?
Entry 32- August 1540-Staff problems, and the Book of Hours
As I was looking through the books I brought from Germany with me I discovered an old favorite, “The Book of Hours,” published in 1533 in Germany. It was a wonderful book with prayers and meditations that I always read. I decided I would give it to his majesty for his generosity in our annulment settlement. I wrote in the book:
“I beseech Your Grace humbly when you look on this remember me, your Grace’s assured Anne, the daughter of Cleves.”
Some of my staff I found to be unfriendly toward me as the “Adopted sister of
the King.” In August 1540, one of my servants Wymond Carew had written to
the Kings council to complain. Mr. Carew pleaded for the same salary as Mr. Horssey, and his wife were allowed. Mr. Carew felt him and his wife deserved the same pay as Mr. Horssey, and his wife. Mr. Carew never took this plea to me, and chose instead to take his complaint straight to the King’s council. From that day forward, I viewed Mr. Carew as a spy for the King, and ignored him as much as possible. He angered me terribly, but I could not dismiss him because the King had appointed him.
Entry 33- The fall of 1540-Young Elizabeth and I
The next few months of the fall of 1540 went favorably at Richmond castle.
The castle was close enough for me to attend court when requested to do so, and was large enough for any royalty. Much of the castle was in need of repair, and I had my staff set about repairing the curtains and removing the cobwebs in the ceilings.
Lady Elizabeth came to visit with me on many occasions that fall of 1540, as was allowed by my annulment agreement with his majesty. We spent many enjoyable hours together at Richmond castle. It was my observation that Lady Elizabeth was not being properly being taken care of, and I tried to do what I could for her. Lady Elizabeth was a very bright 7-year-old child, and the way her father the King treated her by making her a bastard and beheading her mother had left its scar on her personality and life. We talked for many hours about King Henry and how he mistreated woman. I spoke from personal experience, and tried to help Elizabeth relate to what was politically going on in England. She understood more than many in the King’s court gave her credit, despite her young age. Lady Elizabeth, and her stepsister Lady Mary were not very close mostly because Lady Elizabeth was brought up a protestant, and Mary was a devote Catholic. Being brought up under a Lutheran father, and a Catholic mother, I understood the problem between the sisters very well. Elizabeth and her stepbrother Edward were close in age and of the same religion that developed a small bond between them. I taught Elizabeth
German, and she taught me how to speak English better. Elizabeth had been taught Latin, Greek, Spanish, and French and was much better versed in languages than I was. She enjoyed using different language expressions in my company, and we would laugh together as I tried to figure out what she was saying. Over the many months, our friendship grew, and I became both a
Mentor, and “step mother figure,” to Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s governess was a woman
called Katherine Champernowne. Katherine was very well educated and enjoyed teaching Elizabeth everything she knew. Both Katherine Champernowne, and I enjoyed a special relationship in Elizabeth’s life. I saw Elizabeth as a needy and brilliant child, who needed the love of a parent or adult. Katherine Champernowne, and I tried our best to fill that role. Over time Katherine married Elizabeth’s cousin John Asteley, that made her a distant relative as
well as duchess to Elizabeth. The disgrace and beheading of Elizabeth’s mother was one nightmare that always haunted Elizabeth and on several occasions we spoke about those nightmares. I tried to calm her fears but to no avail. Elizabeth also had a friend in her household that was a Welsh woman called Blanch Parry. Blanch remained a close friend as Elizabeth grew up. Elizabeth’s tutor, Roger Ascham, said that Elizabeth was one of his brightest students. Elizabeth could read and write in several languages, and also play a musical instrument. The English seemed to be very fond of playing musical instruments. I had no interest in musical instruments, but patiently listened to Elizabeth when she played. Since it was painfully obvious I was not to have children of my own I adopted Elizabeth in my mind as my child and tried to protect her in every way I could. She was a child that needed a caring parent and I
hope that I could fill that role. She had been abandoned as I had been by the King and we shared that personal pain.
Entry 36-Christmas 1540 and New Years 1541.
On January 3, 1541, I was invited by his majesty to Hampton Court to celebrate the New Year. Many of my ladies were afraid of Queen Kathryn Howard’s reaction to his majesty invitation for me to attend the Christmas celebrations at the Court. I gave their objections great thought, but decided in the end to stand my own ground and not show the Queen that I was afraid of her or bore her any ill will or displeasure.
Upon my arrival I presented his majesty with two fine horses decked out in mauve velvet. He was most pleased with this present. Upon coming to Hampton court I waited patiently for Queen
Catherine Howard to receive me. When the Queen finally entered I threw myself to the ground at her feet to show as much reverence as possible. I believe Queen Catherine was embarrassed, and she begged me to get up. I remained on the floor out of respect. Finally, his majesty entered the room and made a low bow to me our of respect. I was most pleased. He embraced me and kissed me as if we had been friends all our lives. We soon sat down to dinner afterward and I put on my best graces for all those in attendance. After studying English all fall back at Richmond, I had an
opportunity to practice my new language. Everyone seemed amazed that I could speak English much better than I did earlier in 1540.
After dinner his majesty retired to his apartments not feeling well. Queen Catherine, and I amused ourselves all evening by dancing and talking. We had a wonderful time. Catherine was so pleased that she gave me a ring, and two small dogs that his majesty had given her. Henry later gave me a present of $1,000 ducats for annual rent received from my tenants. I stayed for two lovely nights at Hampton court and then returned to Richmond castle
Entry 37- January 1542-The Book I never wrote
In January of 1542, someone posing as me, wrote a novel using my name as the author. The name of the novel was “The Remonstrance of Anne of Cleves.” The book was written, and printed in Europe at the time. When King Henry heard of the novel, I understand that he was most upset. Many untruths were presented in this novel as if I had written them. I was very worried that this would shed a bad light on our improved relationship. Fortunately, Henry and his council did not believe I wrote the novel and no ill fortunate became of it for me. I understand the King asked his ambassador to France, Sir Paget to get a copy of the novel for him. The King’s French ambassador complained to King Francis. The ambassador complained that the book was not written by me and was slanderous in nature and demanded to know who wrote the book.
Fortunately King Francis agreed to suppress the printing of the book in cooperation with Henry King of England. It appears that a gentleman by the name of John of Luxembourg, a younger son of the Count of Brienne had written the book. I had never heard of the man before and King Henry was to find that true also. The novel was stopped before it could be mass printed and
the problem was taken care of thanks to King Henry. We had a good relationship in those days and it continued.
Entry 38 – Summer and fall of 1541-My Days at Richmond Castle as the “Beloved sister of the King.”
All was quiet the spring of 1541 with Catherine Howard as the new Queen
of England. I retired to my castle at Richmond to keep my staff in order, and
to renovate some of the castle that needed mending. By the summer of 1541,
rumors began to circulate around the court that there were some problems
about the Queen regarding her behavior before she had become the Queen. I
heard through the court gossip, and my ambassadors that a Lady Rochford
alluded to some romance of Catherine with a Thomas Culpepper. The Lord
Cranmer and the King’s council were investigating stories of improprieties on
behalf of Catherine Howard. I secretly hoped that the Queen would be
rejected, and King Henry would recall me to be Queen. I kept these desires to
myself, not daring to share these with my ladies or staff.
One day in the fall of 1541, I was surprised by a visit by one or the Kings
couriers requesting that one of my attendants Lady Wingfield appear before
the King’s council. I had no idea what this was all about but I feared for my Lady Wingfield. Another of my ladies Jane Rattsay was also summoned. I was angry beyond imagination. Once again the King’s council was keeping check on me. Rumor was that there was a story going around the court that I was pregnant with the King’s child. How absurd I said to
myself? Even Henry knows we have never been together sexually ever. I was beside myself with anger. As it turned out in a few days the King’s council learned the gossip was folly. I receive no apologies for their intrusive behavior and my ladies were just as shocked to be questioned as to my pregnancy, which did not exist. I do not know where or how these ridiculous stories ever get started in the court but I am not happy that suspicion fell on me immediately.
Entry 39- November 1541-Queen Catherine falls into disgrace
I heard from my ambassadors, and through the usual gossip from my ladies of Queen Catherine’s disgrace in November of 1541. The council had investigated some charges about her earlier life and came to the conclusion that treason was at hand. I knew that if she was found guilty she could be killed for treason. I had no pity for her. She was my maid of Honor who betrayed me with the King behind my back, and as the King was annulling my marriage, he was carrying on with my Lady Katherine Howard.
I heard that the Queen was expelled to Syon Abbey over Christmas, by the King and his council. I stayed at Richmond that Christmas with no invitation by the King to celebrate the holidays. Eventually Catherine Howard was taken to the Tower of London on February 10, 1542 and imprisoned. On Feb. 13, 1542 she was beheaded at Tower Green witnessed by the King’s council.
Perhaps now there was a chance I would become Queen at last? Dare I hope for that dream? I heard from my ambassadors that my Brother William, the Duke of Cleves declared war on his neighbors in mid 1542, creating a big stir in the English court. It was obvious to me now that I could never return home with a war going on. Through my ambassadors, and with letters from my brother William I learned that he had some initial success attacking Mary of Hungry while the Emperor Charles V was away in Spain. Later however, the tide turned against
him, and when Charles V returned with overwhelming forces, William lost at the battle of Heneberge. Charles had returned from Spain, and surprised my brother Duke William. By August of 1543 Charles V had invaded Juliers and under siege it fell in a few days. Most all of my family lands were lost.
Entry 40 -June 1543- Lady Mary and I
In June of 1543, I invited Lady Mary to Richmond to spend some time with me. She was just a year younger than me, and I was more of a friend than a Stepmother. I was hoping Mary’s visit would cheer me up. We rode horses and enjoyed ourselves everyday with long talks and quiet time in chapel. Mary was a devout Catholic and that did not bother me since my mother was a devout Catholic. As a matter of fact I enjoyed daily prayer in the Catholic tradition at Richmond Castle with Mary. We were like sisters in many ways and shared our relationship to the King in many ways.
We formed a bond of friendship that would last a lifetime. Mary enjoyed herself so much that she gave some of my servants money for being so kind to her. She loved it at Richmond Castle, and asked to return on other occasions to kindle our friendship. Mary seemed to have no real friends at the court or with anyone influential and I was the link to the court and the King that she so often dreamed of having. I gave Mary a present of Spanish silk before she left, and she was most grateful, hugging me before she left.
Entry 41- Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII
A month later in July 1543, I learned that Mary and Elizabeth were invited to a Wedding, for which I was not invited. The King had married yet again on July 12, 1543. A woman by the name of Catherine Parr, a widower, was to become King Henry’s 6th wife. I was beside myself with anger. I thought with our great relationship, that Henry and I would one day come together as King and Queen. Reality was setting in that I would always be the King’s beloved sister and nothing more. Not being invited to the wedding was even more painful for me.
Entry 42- August 1543- A visit from his Majesty the King
Two weeks after his marriage, his majesty King Henry came to Richmond castle to visit me
with his new bride. I was shocked to see his new bride. I was able to deal
with Catherine Howard as Queen for she had betrayed me, and carried on with the
King behind my back. But marrying this 36 year old widow who had never
had any children seem an action of desperation. Why had Henry not taken me
back as his Queen? After this final insult I wished I could return to my home
in Cleves but that was no longer possible with William being defeated by
Charles V. Most of our lands were lost to Charles V and William was at the
mercy of the Emperor.
Entry-43- August 1543- The death of my mother
More bad news came that August of 1543, when I learned that my mother Maria
of Juliers had died. I could not return to Cleves for the funeral since I was bound by the King’s agreement with me not to leave England or forfeit my castles, and monthly allowance. It was a painful decision, but I decided to stay in England, rather than forfeit my riches.
Entry-44- 1543- War between William, Duke of Cleves and Charles V of France
Later in September 1543, I learned my brother William, the Duke of Cleves, surrendered to Charles V on Sept. 7, 1543 at Venio. At Venio, Charles required William to divorce his French bride, and marry the Emperor’s daughter, Maria of Austria. Charles took William’s remaining army and marched against the French that stood up against him. I was frightened for my brother, and exchanged many letters through my ambassadors. The home I remembered in my childhood, no longer existed, and now I could never return to my homeland. I was beside myself during August and September of that year 1543.
One day a courier arrived from Albert Duke of Prussia a kinsman of mine with a white osprey. It was a wonderful and thoughtful gift from Albert. I sent him a written reply immediately, and thanked him for the kind gift. I found much joy in hunting with my nobles using our white
osprey. I believe Albert had heard of my mother’s death and wanted to console me in some way. The white osprey was a perfect gift in lifting my spirits.
The fall went by quickly at Richmond, and eventually I settled down with my emotions and tried to make the best of the situation. By March 1546 I was back at the court on regular visits. I put the Queen’s death, and my brother’s defeat behind me, and lived as the rich woman I was,
“Beloved sister of the King” Henry was very kind to me that spring and by June 1546, I was in regular attendance at the court. It was beginning to feel like family. Henry often spoke with me because he could not trust his council or advisors on personal matters of state. He was glad
to have my opinion and with my much improved English we had become very good friends. I respected him as the King he was and in the wisdom he showed in ruling England.
That August of 1546, I was in attendance by the King’s grace at a reception for the Admiral of France’s reception in London. Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth, and I and the King’s niece Margaret Douglas all took part in the ceremonies.
It was a wonderful affair hosted by the King and we all enjoyed ourselves. It was then that I noticed that his majesty did not look well and he limped terribly. It would be the last time I would see his majesty alive. Sadly, on January 28, 1547 his majesty the King passed away.
Entry 45- January 28, 1547- The Death of his Majesty King Henry VIII
On January 30, my Ambassador tells me that his majesty has been sick all January and on January 28th, a few days ago, he died. It seems that King Edward VI who is only nine years old will take over the throne. It is also rumored Lord Edward Somerset was announced by the King’s privy council as the King’s Protector.
Entry 46- Feb. 16, 1547- The Funeral of his Majesty King Henry VIII
I attended the burial of his majesty today on a dark and gloomy rainy day at Windsor Castle. His Majesty was laid to rest next to his third wife Jane Seymour. All three of these children were in attendance including King Edward VIII and Lord Edward Somerset, his Protector, and Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley. Mary, Elizabeth and I stood together during the burial. Mary and Elizabeth cried and were very sad. I kept a stiff upper lip trying not to show Mary and Elizabeth how sad I was inside.
Entry 47- Sunday, February 20, 1547- The Coronation of King Edward VI at Westminister Abbey
A few of my ladies and I attended the Coronation of the new King Edward VI. His majesty was only nine years of age and I do not think he really knew what was going on. I watched as the young King came on horseback from the Tower of London to Westminister Abbey. The crowds thronged around him as he rode to the front of Westminister. At the Coronation service Arch Bishop Cranmer affirmed the Royal supremacy and called his Majesty a second Josiah. After the service there was a gala banquet in Westminister hall where the young Kind presided wearing his crown the entire time. I think to him it seem like a big game.
I rode back to Hever castle in my coach after the banquet with a few of my ladies, and we retired early for the evening. Hopefully, the realm of the new King will be better than the realm of King Henry VIII?
Entry – The Young King
When the 9-year-old young King came to power upon his father’s death things began to change for me. A member of my own household Sir Thomas Cawarden had petitioned the King for Blechingleigh Castle upon my demise. He was promoted to Master of Revels with Edward VI and was able to see and meet with the young king on a regular basis. Eventually the young King permitted the council to agree on giving Sir Thomas Cawarden Blechingleigh Castle as befits his rank in the court of Edward VI. I was most upset when I learned that I must give up Blechingleigh Castle to Sir Thomas but it was the ruling of the council. I appealed to them through my ambassadors to reconsider my financial position and the promises King VIII made to me. I was very angry with Sir Thomas and took it upon myself to visit him regularly and have him host us at Blechingleigh and his London residence in Blackfriars. I did not offer to gave any payment to Sir Thomas knowing full well he could not afford hosting my retinue for dinner and lodging. I tired very hard to make Sir Thomas’ life miserable by cooking up many different
dinners for my staff and I costing him many ducats.
Soon after I was forced to surrender Blechingleigh Castle. The King’s council
saw fit to seize Richmond castle, my main home. I appealed but to no avail.
Finally by May 1548 I was forced to leave Richmond, which had been promised to
me by the King for life. By 1552 more pressure was brought to bear on me to
relinquish my lands and manor at Bisham in exchange for a fair value of the
property paid to me, and a smaller home at Westropp in Suffolk. Once again my
staff and I had to move. I wrote to Lady Mary in January of 1553 as to my sad
disposition of my lands and manors at the hands of Edward VI. Edward Seymour
was the Lord Protector that had the young King’s ear and I believe the real reason
why my lands were confiscated. Now he sees himself as the Duke of Somerset
and a noble title indeed? I heard that the rest of the King’s council was not happy
with the Lord Protector and in October 1549 he was arrested and forced to
surrender the Protectorship of the young King. The Duke of Somerset was
allowed to return to the council the following year after John Dudley, Duke of
Northumberland became the King’s Protector.
My finances were in terrible disarray and without the income from my other
manors and properties I was unable to pay my staff or keep the style of living I
was used to as a respected member of the royal household. I asked my brother
William to petition Edward VI for me to return my funds so that I might survive
financially. By August of 1552, I was again forced to petition the council for
funds. The response to my request was unfavorable.
I received a letter from my sister Sybylla to ask the King to request of the
Emperor the release of John Frederick from captivity. Surprisingly, on July
23, the council wrote to inform me that John Frederick had been released.
My financial troubles continued until on July 6, 1553 the 15-year-old King of
England, Edward VI died. The death of the young king was kept secret by the
Duke of Northumberland while he prepared for the accession of his own
daughter-in-law Lady Jane Grey. I had nothing to do with this strange
transition for in my heart I knew the throne belonged to Lady Mary.
Entry 48- February 1547-
I heard some gossip at the Coronation banquet that Lord Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford had declared himself with the approval of the privy council as, “Lord Protect of the Realm,” Governor of the King’s person and Duke of Somerset. Gossip has it that he has bought the loyalty of those on the privy council by granting new titles and lands to these lords. Poor Edward VI has no idea the these greedy men have taken over the crown and are distributing the lands and riches to their friends and loyal supporters in order to gain favor for themselves. I will make it a point to stay away from the court with the new lords in power.
Entry 49- 1549- Riots and Rebellions, Scotland and France
I remained at my court in Penshurst place during the turbulent times at King Edward VI’s court. A war was raging with the Scots and the French as the same time. England ended up with a peace treaty losing lands in France and making peace with the Scots.
Entry 50-1549- The Powerplay
John Dudley 1st Earl of Warwick replaces Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset in a powerplay in King Edward VI’s court. Rumor has it that John Dudley had received support, and control of the Privy Council and convinced them to dispose of the Duke of Somerset in his favor. I am glad I am not in attendance at the King’s court in these dark days. The many rebellions and riots plus the war against Scotland and France drained England of funds and put the 1st Duke of Somerset into disfavor with those on the Privy council. God only knows what Lord Dudley had in mind for England and his ward, King Henry VI? News from the court has it that John Dudley has promoted himself to the position of Duke of Northumberland after having replaced the Duke of Somerset.
Entry 51- My Financial Woes
I just heard from the Duke of Northumberland and the Kings Privy Council that due to a shortage in funds in the King’s coffers the salaries and payments for my staff and castles is being delayed. This has put me into a terrible situation having to ask my staff for wait for payment from the Duke of Northumberland. I have written my brother William, The Duke of Cleves and asked for his assistance in this matter. Perhaps he will have one of the Ambassadors from Cleves in the court of King Henry VI ask the King of the Duke of Northumberland why they have not sent my pension and salary money so that I might keep up my staff and estates properly. Each day that passes I awake to a feeling of inner illness for having been a victim of the court of King Edward VI who probably has no understanding of what is happening to the King’s funds. I have considered returning to Cleves but that is a terrible option since I would have to forfeit my properties and my friends and staff in England if I return. My brother wants me to return only to use as a pawn in his favor in marrying me off to another old King of France or some other country that works in his favor. I have spoken to Lady Mary my step-daughter and she understands that this is troubled time in a young King’s court where the Duke of Somerset and then the Duke of Northumberland have ruled in the King’s interest. Lady Mary and I both agree it is best to stay away from the court so that they do not turn against us any more than they have done so already.
Entry 52- February 1547-
My Ambassador and many other sources of court gossip have reached me at Hever Castle. Lord Chancellor Thomas Wriothesley had challenged Lord Edward Seymour, the new Duke of Somerset, and found himself dismissed as Chancellor. It seems the Duke of Somerset is now a most powerful man acting in the King’s behalf, but really taking care of his own agenda. These are bad times at the court. I remain at Hever Castle far removed from the politics of the King’s court.
Entry 53- The Spring of 1547
I have just heard from a courier that Lord Thomas Seymour, brother of Edward Seymour, The Duke of Somerset, has secretly married Catherine Parr, King Henry VIII’s widow. Catherine was responsible for Lady Jane Grey and thirteen year old Lady Elizabeth in her household. It is not certain if the Duke of Somerset was aware of this marriage and whether they had the consent of the Privy Council or not. These are terrible times where Lords are struggling for control of the country and the boy King Edward VI.
Entry 54- March 1547- My Castles confiscated
A courier has arrived at Hever Castle with bad news. The King’s Privy council under the direction of Lord Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset has confiscated Richmond castle and Bletchingley Palace from me. Bletchingley Palace, had become my usual residence instead of Hever Castle, and now I had to move to Penshurst Place to make way for Thomas Cawarden, Master of Revels. The Privy Council pointed out that Penshurst place was nearer to Hever, and the move had been in King Henry VIII’s will. I was not aware of this change in his Majesty’s will, nor did I have the power to prove the Privy council wrong. Upon receipt of the news, I wept for a while, and then assembled my ladies and gentlemen, and informed them that upon orders from the Privy council, we would be relocating to Penshurst Castle, and leaving Bletchingley Palace for the newly appointed Lord Thomas Cawarden, Master of Revels. Many of my ladies were most upset for they enjoyed living at Bletchingley Palace. I tried to make the news seem positive to put their minds at rest, but few of my staff believed that I welcomed this move.
The next day we began packing and relocating my entire staff to Penshurst Place. Penshurst Place used to be his Majesty’s favorite hunting lodge and was but a few miles from Hever Castle. Penshurst place was not as big or as fashionable as Richmond castle and was much smaller in size. The move to Penshurst place took but a week as my entire staff pitched in to make our move as smooth as possible. As we left Bletchingley Palace, Lord Thomas Cawarden’s staff began moving in his furniture and clothing wasting no time for his new dwelling as a result of favored status with the Duke of Somerset.
Entry 55-Year 1550- Penshurst place given to Sir Ralph Fane
The Duke of Northumberland and the Privy council has notified me today, via a courier, that I am to move to Hever castle, for they have taken away Penshurst Place, and given it to a supporter of the Duke of Northumberland, Sir Ralph Vane. When will this treachery end? Did not his Majesty King Henry VIII promise me these lands? Is the Duke of Northumberland giving away lands to secure favors from his supporters? Why have they forgotten me in their little schemes? Yet again I had to call my staff of ladies and gentlemen together and inform them that the Duke of Northumberland has decreed that we must move again to Hever castle and vacate Penshurst place for Sir Ralph Vane to occupy. Sir Ralph Vane fought with the Duke of Somerset at the battle of Pinkie Cleugh at Musselburg and was created Knight banneret. As a supporter of the Duke of Somerset King Edward VI gave him my mansion, Penshurst and the manor of Lyghe the forfeited property of property of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buchingham, who was rotting away in the Tower of London.
During the countrywide uprisings of 1549 Dudley put down Kett’s Rebellion in Norfolk. Convinced of the Protector’s incompetence, he and other privy councilors forced Somerset out of office in October 1549. Having averted a conservative reaction in religion and a plot to destroy him alongside Somerset, Dudley emerged in early 1550 as de facto regent for the 12-year-old Edward VI. He reconciled himself with Somerset, who nevertheless soon began to intrigue against him and his policies. Somerset was executed on largely fabricated charges, three months after Dudley had been raised to the Dukedom of Northumberland in October 1551.
Entry – March 1553-The King Edward VI is gravely ill
I have heard word from the court that the King Edward VI has not been seen in court since February 1553. He is being attended to by the King’s physicians but his progress has not improved. My ambassador informs me that rumor has it that the Duke of Northumberland has convinced the young king to change the line of succession to Lady Jan Grey who is only sixteen years of age and to disown his half sisters Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth. This is a terrible miscarriage of justice. Lady Mary is worried about her safety as is Lady Elizabeth. They fear the the Duke of Northumberland will try to steal the throne away from Lady Mary who is next in line to succeed King Edward VI. Edward loved his half-sister Lady Mary, but he did not agree with her Catholic beliefs. It must have been the Duke of Northumberland who took advantage of the sick young King to get him to sign off on a change in the succession to the throne should he die. I cannot believe this is happening. Lady Mary is entitled to become Queen should King Edward VI die at a young age. It is as their father King Henry VIII would have wanted it to be.
Picture of Queen Mary
Entry 63- Mary Queen of England
On July19, 1553 news of the proclamation of Mary as queen traveled throughout the
land. I was thrilled and delighted for Mary, for she had earned the right to be
Queen. Mary had promised me that if she ever became Queen she would
restore all my divorce rights and estates that Edward VI had taken away.
On September 28, 1553 Mary took her barge and sailed down the Thames
river to the Tower of London. I and many other ladies were in attendance on
another barge celebrating Mary as the Queen of England. It was a sunny day
and all of my ladies were dressed in the finest of dresses in honor of the new
Queen. Mary wore a beautiful dress of blue velvet trimmed with ermine. She
look gorgeous and truly noble that day. Her chariot was draped in fine tissue
and drawn by six horses decorated in red velvet. It was a triumphed day
indeed for the Queen. The Earl of Oxford had the honor of bearing the sword
of state. I was thrilled to be part of the procession with Mary that day. I faced
backward in the chariot as Mary sat facing forward. I could see the entire
procession as it made it’s way through the city.
Entry 64- The Coronation of Queen Mary
The next morning Oct. 1, 1553 was the Coronation of Queen Mary at Westminister
Abbey. It was a beautiful procession of nobility and ladies of all rank. Lady
Elizabeth and I attended the coronation banquet that evening and sat at the
same table as Mary the Queen. It was a wonderful feeling to be recognized
again and to have a positive connection to the thrown. The candlelight
banquet was most festive and the beer and food was the best I had in many
years. Soon after the Coronation banquet Elizabeth and I left with the Queen
on her barge.
The first thing the Queen did in her official capacity was the restoration of the
traditional Catholic religion to England. The high altar was once again set up
at St. Paul’s Cathedral and crucifixes and other catholic features were
replaced in all the churches in London. Queen Mary restored all of my
properties that Edward VI had taken away and my $4,000 ducats a month
allowance. I was most grateful for her kindness. Mary wanted me to become a
Catholic and I had no problem with that and supported Mary in everyway I
could with her return to Catholicism in England.
Entry 65- Return to Richmond Castle
When I returned to Richmond, Edward VI had done a lot of major repairs
and renovations I could not afford when I was living there. It was an even
more beautiful castle than before with all the improvements. Sir Thomas
was removed and my vengeance was sweet.
The Queen consulted me as to what Gentlemen I felt she should marry. It
was in my best interest to proclaim Archduke Ferdinand the eldest son of
Charles V’s brothers. My brother William was related to Ferdinand by
marriage and this would aid my family well. Secretly, however, the
Queen made up her mind that Phillip of Spain, the Emperor’s son would
make an ideal candidate to marry. Phillip was much younger than Mary in
his late twenties. I was very disappointed in Mary’s choice but Mary had
made up her mind and there was no changing it. As quickly as November
1553 Phillip accepted Mary’s proposal of marriage. All did not bode well
across the country when many Noblemen learned of the Spanish wedding.
I stayed close to court in the fall of 1553 to help Queen Mary I in any way
I could. I tried to stay out of the politics that were brewing across the
Entry 66- Jan. 25, 1554- The Wyatt Rebellion
On Jan 25, 1554 uprising occurred with Sir Thomas Wyatt riding into
Maidstone market and issuing a proclamation that he and other nobleman
in England were going to rebel against Queen Mary and Philip of Spain. I was
afraid for Mary’s life. The rebels had already marched on Rochester and then on
to Dartford. The Queen wisely sent troops to meet Sir Wyatt and offer to
negotiate. He refused her offer. I advised Mary to take drastic steps to summon
popular support of her throne. She decided to give a moving speech at Guildhall
and rallying the people to her claim to the throne. It was a most successful speech
and I was in tears hearing how well she spoke. Later Sir Wyatt approached the Southwark and found the gates of the London Bridge locked, and guarded against his approach. He waited two days and then marched his troops to Kingston where he crossed the river without any problems.
As he approached Hyde Park everyone began to panic. The royal troops came to
the rescue and defeated Sir Wyatt and captured him and set him in the Tower of
London. During the rebellion I moved from Richmond castle to Hever castle
where I thought it safer to stay during the rebellion. Wyatt was tortured in
the Tower and implicated myself to my surprise and many other nobles.
Elizabeth was also implicated in a grand plot. Now I feared what the Queen
might do. I had no involvement with this rebellion but for some reason my name
was mentioned by Sir Wyatt under duress of torture.
For Queen Mary the relationship to me was damaged beyond repair, and I could
not prove my innocence easily. I felt at great despair that just the mention of my name
would involve Elizabeth and I in a great conspiracy against the Queen of
England. Queen Mary never trusted me again.
Entry 67-July 20, 1554- The marriage of Queen Mary I
Queen Mary would be married on July 20, 1554, and I was not invited for obvious
reasons. I wrote Mary a letter to congratulate her.
“After my humble commendations unto your majesty, with thanks for your
loving favor showed to me in my last suit, and praying of your highness your
loving continuance, it may please your highness to understand that I am informed
of your graces return to London again: and being desirous to do my duty to see
your majesty and the king, if it may so stand with your majesty and his. Wishing
you both much joy and felicity, with increase of children to God’s glory, and to
the preservation of your prosperous estates long to continue with honour in all
godly virtue. From my poor house at Hever, the 4th of August.
Your highness’ to command, Anne the Daughter of Cleves.”
From that point on I was never again in favor of Mary Queen of England. It was
low times for me and great depression.
Entry 67- The Death of my sister Sibylle
To add to my depression I received word from my ambassador that my sister Sibylle, and her husband John Fredrick’s had died. I cried for many nights at the thought that I had lost my older sister and her husband. Things seem to be very bleak for me. I began to look back over my life
and the last twenty years in England as a Sister of the King of England. I had hoped to live peacefully at my household but Mary would always interfere in my life. She dismissed a young man in my service whom I cared for greatly. His name was Florence De Diaceto from Cleves. He had served me from the first days I came to England. There was some dispute of monies owed him for the 15 years in my service and Queen Mary’s council refused to pay him what he was due. He was sent to Denmark by orders of Edward VI and upon his return to England when
Mary became Queen his timing was bad as the rebellion had broken out and the Queen’s council had no time for dealing with his demand for payments for services. I learned that he was in personal danger and suggested he flee to Paris where the English would not pursue him. I was very angry at this intrusion into my life by the council but there was little I could do.
Entry 68- 1547- The Brockehouse Affair
Financial despair was again upon me by 1547, Jasper Brockehouse was appointed to help me take care of my financial affairs. It cost around $1,000 ducats a month to support my lifestyle and staff of loyal servants and I was behind in many payments. I was no longer able to support my rich lifestyle and it was most depressing to me.
Entry- 69- April 1557, My final days
There were many disputes among my servants, and four of the men and women were removed by the Queens council. I was again on financial hardship times with a reduced staff, and a reduced monthly income. The council was forever trying to take away my manor houses and I had to fight them constantly. By April 1557, I was very sick and I knew it. My time on
Earth was indeed going to be short. I regretted that Queen Mary, and I no longer could share our friendship because she still believed, despite proof of evidence, that I was in some way associated with Sir Thomas Wyatt who led the rebellion. I regret that turn of events unto my dying day. I have Queen Mary I to thank for restoring my original divorce settlement and trying in the beginning of her rein to make it right.
Entry 70- Philip and Mary
I was glad when I heard that Philip of Spain convinced Queen Mary to let her
sister Lady Elizabeth be allowed succession to the throne if she could not bear any
children. Philip liked Elizabeth, and felt that she was treated poorly by her
father. Since Mary could not yet produce an heir, Elizabeth had the right to
be the next Queen. If only I could live to see the day Lady Elizabeth became Queen?
We were as mother and daughter to one another having spent so many wonderful days at my castle Richmond. Perhaps I had made some impression on both Mary and Elizabeth and hopefully it was a positive one?
Anne of Cleves’s English Household
Great Ladies of the Household of Anne of Cleves, “beloved sister of the
King of England, King Henry VIII
*Mary Arundell, Countess of Sussex
*Frances Brandon, Marchioness of Dorset
*Lady Margaret Douglas
*Mary Howard, Duchess of Richmond
*Eleanor Paston, Countess of Rutland
*Jane Guildford, Lady Dudley
*Catherine St. John,
Gentlewomen in Attendance:
Maids of Honor (6)
*Anne Bassett-daughter of the Lady of Isle
*Catherine Howard- age 15 at the time
Mistress of the Queen’s Maids:
*Margaret (or Anne) Foliot,
Anne of Cleves’s Household after summer of 1540
(All of the German staff was sent back to Cleves after the annulment)
*Catherine Bassett [mistakenly called Elizabeth Bassett in some sources]
*Frances Lilgrave, widow
*Dorothy [Fitzherbert] Wingfield, widow mentioned in Anne of Cleves’s will
Anne Chayre, her daughter
*Anne Egerton Elizabeth Eliott, laundress
*Dorothy Potter Magdalen
*Maud Curzon, wife of Nicholas]
*Tatton Elya Turpen, former laundress
*AnneVaugh, her daughter
Letter from Anne of Cleves to King Henry VIII after their anullment
My letter to his excellent majesty King Henry VIII
Pleaseth your most excellent majesty to understand that, whereas, at sundry times heretofore, I have been informed and perceived by certain lords and others your grace’s council, of the doubts and questions which have been moved and found in our marriage; and how hath petition thereupon been made to your highness by your nobles and commons, that the same might be examined and determined by the holy clergy of this realm; to testify to your highness by my writing, that which I have before promised by my word and will, that is to say, that the matter should be examined and determined by the said clergy; it may please your majesty to know that, though this case must needs be most hard and sorrowful unto me, for the great love which I bear to your most noble person, yet, having more regard to God and his truth than to any worldly affection, as it beseemed me, at the beginning, to submit me to such examination and determination of the said clergy, whom I have and do accept for judges competent in that behalf. So now being ascertained how the same clergy hath therein given their judgment and sentence, I acknowledge myself hereby to accept and approve the same, wholly and entirely putting myself, for my state and condition, to your highness’ goodness and pleasure; most humbly beseeching your majesty that, though it be determined that the pretended matrimony between us is void and of none effect, whereby I neither can nor will repute myself for your grace’s wife, considering this sentence (whereunto I stand) and your majesty’s clean and pure living with me, yet it will please you to take me for one of your humble servants, and so determine of me, as I may sometimes have the fruition of your most noble presence; which as I shall esteem for a great benefit, so, my lords and others of your majesty’s council, now being with me, have put me in comfort thereof; and that your highness will take me for your sister; for the which I most humbly thank you accordingly. Thus, most gracious prince, I beseech our Lord God to send your majesty long life and good health, to God’s glory, your own honor, and the wealth of this noble realm. From Richmond, the 11th day of July, the 32nd year of your majesty’s most noble reign. Your majesty’s most humble sister and servant, Anne the daughter of Cleves.
Map of Cleves in 1540’s
Hampton Court where King Henry Viii once resided
Hever Castle home to Anne of Cleves
Key Dates Timeline of Anne of Cleves Key events
1515 September 22 Anne of Cleves was born in Dusseldorf, Cleves in Germany
1537 October 24 Queen Jane Seymour died and Henry VIII went into a period of mourning
1538 Thomas Cromwell, began searching for foreign bride for Henry. He favored a political Protestant alliance
1539 April 23 Hans Holbein a famous Tudor court painter, was sent to paint the pictures of the princesses of Cleves – Amelia and
1539 August Hans Holbein returned to England and King Henry VIII chose the portrait of Anne of Cleves as the most favorable
1539 October 6 The marriage treaty with Cleves was finalized
1539 December 11 Anne of Cleves arrived at Calais
1539 December 27 Anne of Cleves landed at Deal and then travelled to Rochester
1540 January 1 King Henry VIII met his bride in person – the Hans Holbein painting did not match Anne of Cleves in person
1540 January 6 The wedding between King Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves took place
1540 July 9 English Parliament declared the marriage between King Henry and Anne of Cleves as null and void because Anne
had once been engaged to the son of the Duke of Lorraine
1540 – 1557 Anne of Cleves became one of the wealthiest women in Tudor England where she lived until she died
1557 October 24 Anne of Cleves died at Chelsea Old Palace, England and was buried in Westminster Abbey
Timeline of Key Dates Timeline of Anne of Cleves Key events
King Henry VIII of England
The Tower of London