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January 6, 1540 – Marriage of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves

Wedding of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII - as portrayed by Joss Stone and Jonathan Rhys-Meyer in Showtime's The Tudors
Wedding of Anne of Cleves and Henry VIII – as portrayed by Joss Stone and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in Showtime’s The Tudors

The official meeting having been quite public for his subjects (read the post here), the marriage was much quieter. It took place in the Queen’s Closet at Greenwich, and Chronicler Edward Hall gives a great description (I’ve updated some of the spelling for clarity):

“Thus the noble lady remained unmarried until the Tuesday following being the day of the Epiphany: on which date about eight of the clock in the morning, his Grace being appareled in a gown of cloth of gold, raised with great flowers of silver, furred with black Jenettes, his coat crimson satin all to cut and embroidered and tied with great diamonds, and a rich collar around his neck, came solemnly with his nobility into the gallery next the closets, and there paused.

Then the Lords went to fetch the Lady Anne, which was appareled in a gown of rich cloth of gold set full of large flowers of great and orient pearls, made after the Dutch fashion round, her hair hanging down, which was fair, yellow and long. On her head a Coronal of gold replenished with great stones, and set about full of branches of rosemary, about her neck and middle, jewels of great value and estimation. In this apparel she going between the Earl of Overstein and the Grand Master Hostonden, which had the conduit and order of the performance of her marriage, with most demure countenance and sad behavior (!), passed through the King’s chamber, all the Lords going before her till they came to the gallery where the King was, to whom she made three low obeissances and curtsies. Then the Archbishop of Canterbury received them and married them together, and the Earl of Overstein did give her: and about her marrying ring was written: God send me well to keep.

When the marriage was celebrated, they went hand in hand into the King’s closet and there heard Mass and offered their tapers, and after Mass had wine and spices, and that done, the King departed to his chamber and all the Ladies waited on her to her chamber, the Duke of Norfolk going on the right hand, and the Duke of Suffolk on the left hand on her grace.

After nine of the clock, the King with a gown of rich tissue lined with crimson velvet embroidered, came to his closet, and she in her here in the same apparel that she was married in, came to her closet with her Sergeant of Arms and all her Officers, like a Queen, before her. And so the King and she went openly on procession and offered and dined together. And after dinner she changed into a gown like a man’s gown, of tissue with long sleeves [gyrte] to her, furred with rich sables, her narrow sleeves were very costly, but on her head she had a cap as she wore on the Saturday before with a cornet of [laune], which cap was so rich of pearl and stone, that it was judged to be of great value. And after her fashion, her Ladies and Gentlewomen were appareled very rich and costly with chains of divers fashions, and in this apparel she went that night to Evensong, and after supped with the King; and after supper were banquets, masques, and diverse disports, till the time came that it pleased the King and her to take their rest.”

Of course, Hall did not know then that their “rest “did not include the activity that would have been expected for a wedding night…the world all found that out about six months later when the annulment proceedings started…

RESOURCES

Edward Hall, Lives of the Kings: The Triumphant Reign of King Henry VIII

Showtime’s The Tudors – if only for the crazy eyes of Jonathan Rhys-Meyers!

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Published inOn This Day

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