Unlike two of Henry VIII’s other wives, Anne of Cleves managed to extricate herself from her union with the English king with her head still firmly on her body. And she certainly lived to tell the tale. Indeed, Anne not only survived the Tudor monarch himself, but she also outlasted all of his other spouses. But what made the German woman’s fate so different from the rest? Well, the following facts about Anne may just clue you in.
20. Henry and Anne were a political match
Tudor royalty weren’t exactly set on finding romance when it came to selecting spouses; instead, matches were made based on the potential political benefits that marriage would bring. And Henry VIII’s union with Anne Of Cleves was no exception to this rule. The princess had come into the world as the daughter of a German nobleman named John III, and in the eyes of Thomas Cromwell this ancestry made her an ideal wife for the king.
It turned out, you see, that Henry and Anne’s father had one important thing in common: they both opposed the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. John III and Charles V had fought over land, while the emperor and Henry were practically at polar ends of the spectrum when it came to the Protestant Reformation. Given this joint resistance towards the Spanish ruler, then, Henry’s chief minister believed that it would be strategically advantageous to marry the king to the duke’s daughter.