Last week, I wrote of Cromwell’s arrest for treason, and shared the first pleading letter he sent to the King. Cromwell’s crime was religiously based: his enemies managed to persuade the King that Cromwell was a rabid Protestant. The main proof? He had saddled his king with a German bride.
So what would that mean for Anne of Cleves?
Clearly Anne was worried about the same thing, and on June 20, 1540, she complained to her brother’s ambassador that the King was paying too much attention to young Catherine Howard. This is the earliest formal reference to the King’s affection for Catherine Howard, though the attraction would have started much earlier than this.
Anne must have known something was afoot. During the six months that the couple had been married, Henry had not yet touched her. Meanwhile, the Franco-Spanish alliance that had prompted the marriage in the first place had dissolved. Henry was working to repair his relationship with Spain – who increasingly looked to be close to war with Cleves. Things did not look good right now for Anne of Cleves…
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I always thought Anne of Cleves had complicated feelings for Henry. I do think it was more than just being thrilled to be free of him. I think part of her really liked being the Queen and I also think she was rather fond of Henry (as their later friendship bears out). Plus, she was rather jealous when she found out Henry had married Catherine Parr (saying she wasn’t as good looking as she was, etc). Anne of Cleves certainly was the luckiest of Henry’s wives. She was a good woman, for sure.
She was certainly the luckiest of the wives!