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Anne of Cleves

(1515-1557), Fourth Queen of Henry VIII

Sitter associated with 13 portraits
Outliving all of Henry VIII's wives, Anne of Cleves was the Queen of England for a brief 6 months, while married to the King. The wedding was encouraged by Thomas Cromwell and the House of Cleves, both seeking a strong alliance in Europe. Hans Holbein the Younger was sent to paint portraits of Anne and her sister for Henry's consideration, who came to consider the likeness poor and complain that she was plane and uneducated. Despite his resistance, the marriage went ahead on January 6 1540, but was annulled on the grounds that it was unconsummated in July of the same year. Anne received Hever House in the settlement and remained on good terms with Henry, often being referred to as the King’s beloved sister.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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