Historian’s Brand Brand New Novel Raises Controversial Theory: Henry VIII Divorced Anne of Cleves Because She’d Already Provided Birth

Historian’s Brand Brand New Novel Raises Controversial Theory: Henry VIII Divorced Anne of Cleves Because She’d Already Provided Birth

Alison Weir acknowledges the claim, which brings on formerly unexplored proof, is “inconclusive and speculative” but states it could make visitors think

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A brand new novel by Tudor historian Alison Weir outlines a controversial substitute for the oft-cited account of Henry VIII’s breakup from their 4th spouse, Anne of Cleves. The fourth installment in the non-fiction and fiction writer’s Six Tudor Queens series, theorizes that the notoriously mercurial king ended his marriage after discovering his new wife had already conceived a child with another man as Sarah Knapton reports for the Telegraph, Weir’s Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait.

The conventional tale commonly accepted by historians is much less scandalous: Henry, enchanted with a flattering Hans Holbein portrait of his bride-to-be, had been repulsed because of the “ tall, big-boned and strong-featured” girl who found its way to England at the start of 1540. Declaring “I like her maybe not! We with her, the English king only went through with the wedding to maintain diplomatic ties with Anne’s home, the German Duchy of Cleves, and other Protestant allies across the European continent like her not!” after his first meeting.

After simply 6 months of wedding, Henry, wanting to change their short-reigning queen because of the young, vivacious Catherine Howard, had the union annulled on the basis of non-consummation and Anne’s pre-contract with Francis, Duke of Lorraine. Anne, after that known as the “King’s beloved sister,” invested the remainder of her times in England, outliving not merely her husband that is former each regarding the spouses that then followed her one-time stepson, Edward VI.

In a 2018 meeting utilizing the nyc circumstances, Weir explained that her concept comes from a “hitherto unnoticed thread of proof that merited further investigation.” Citing the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of this Reign of Henry VIII, in addition to biographies by Elizabeth Norton, Mary Saaler and Retha M. Warnicke, the writer acknowledges the unsubstantiated nature of her claim but points out, per a different post when it comes to Tudor circumstances, that while “the proof is certainly not conclusive, … you will probably find it convincing or it enables you to reconsider that thought, when I did.”

Weir’s conjecture has proven contentious, with fellow historian Dan Jones deeming the theory “incredibly ridiculous and also kind of weirdly misogynist”—a sentiment echoed by the Anne Boleyn data, a favorite Tudor history weblog, in a Facebook post that calls the idea “poppycock” and “clearly a fictional device.” But due to the fact writer by by herself acknowledged throughout a current session at the literary Hay Festival, the proposed explanation is supposed become “inconclusive and speculative.”

After conference Anne of Cleves when it comes to time that is first Henry apparently declared, “we like her perhaps maybe not! I love her maybe maybe not!” ( general general Public domain)

Weir’s novel has a better glance at claims Henry made from the after his wedding morning. The 48-year-old king told Thomas Cromwell, the advisor who arranged the marriage, that he had been too perturbed to do more than run his hands over Anne’s body as recounted by historian Tracy Borman in an article published by History Extra. “She is absolutely absolutely nothing fair, and have now very wicked smells about her,” Henry apparently stated, including which he “plainly mistrusted her become no maid by explanation for the looseness of her stomach and breasts as well as other tokens.”

The master concluded, “I have gone her nearly as good a maid her. when I discovered”

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Borman writes that the 2 many plausible explanations when it comes to marriage’s shortage of consummation would be the well-documented distaste Henry felt for his bride—in Anne’s protection, it’s worth noting that no body had talked adversely of her appearance before the king, who had been himself definately not the handsome, athletic prince of their youth—and the Tudor monarch’s very very own impotence, as attributable to senior years, immobility related to an ulcerated jousting injury, and their increasingly widening girth.

However in her novel’s author’s note, Weir questions whether Henry may have really been telling the reality, or at the very least a form of occasions he considered to be real. Since the historian contends, he previously experience that is“vast with ladies and “must have known the difference between a feminine dating an indian man human body which had borne kids and something which had maybe maybe not.” It’s possible, consequently, that Henry respected indications of a past maternity (maybe caused by a affair having a relative during Anne’s youth) and neglected to consummate the union this is exactly why. Weir further speculates that the king eventually made a decision to conceal their discovery—notwithstanding their post-wedding proclamations—in purchase to avoid scandal and protect their alliance with Cleves.

A key little bit of proof cited by Weir dates up to a 17th-century biography of Henry by one Lord Herbert. Thought to have admission to long-lost sources, Herbert penned that “secret factors, that your King, without great prerequisite wouldn’t normally have disclosed, simply because they touch’d the Honour for the Lady,” surrounding the dissolution of Henry’s 4th wedding.

“Could those secret reasons be associated with Henry’s oft-voiced doubts about Anna’s virginity?” Weir asked during her Hay speech that is festival. “There may be little doubt that if she contested the truth he might have utilized them against her, and that’s . one reason that is good didn’t.”

This portrait of Anne of Cleves, painted by Barthel Bruyn the Elder, dates into the 1540s ( general Public domain)

Composing when it comes to Tudor instances, Weir contextualizes her theory that is controversial by rumors surrounding Anne’s conduct following divorce or separation. In October 1540, the French ambassador debunked gossip suggesting Henry desired to keep his 5th queen, Catherine Howard, and only “the one whom he’s got repudiated.” The ambassador included, “That which caused the report had been it happens to be stated one other woman, that has been indisposed, had been pregnant.” (Many historians attribute of disease up to a issue that is gastric not maternity.)

The rumor suggested that Anne “was in the family way by the King” and had perhaps even given birth to Henry’s son in December 1541, another report of seeming impropriety surfaced; this time. After a comprehensive investigation, nevertheless, the Privy Council concluded that “the King hadn’t behaved to her just like a husband,” also it had not been correct that Anne had “gone far from London along with a son in the united states final summer.” Nevertheless, Weir writes, “Although almost all contemporary historians state categorically that [Anne] hadn’t borne a young child, stays that she had, [though] it had been surely maybe not the King’s.”

set alongside the remainder of Henry VIII’s spouses, Anne of Cleves arrived on the scene fairly lucky. She escaped the wedding along with her mind intact and enjoyed the king’s favor, likely earned by agreeing towards the annulment, until their death in 1547. She survived Henry by a decade, dying on 16, 1557, at the age of 41 july.

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