MARKING THE 9TH – When Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves

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MARKING THE 9TH – When Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves

Post by Redbeck »

When Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves

In the summer of the year fifteen hundred and forty,
July was such a busy month for King Henry the Eighth
But pondering scarlet slashed sleeves outright gaudy,
The monarch faced marital changes less than courtly
In Chief Minister Thomas Cromwell he had lost faith

And so the tale turns as we roll from July the eighth

He married his fourth wife Anne of Cleves in January
On the sixth day it was, Henry awash with misgivings
Felt duped by Holbein, who portrayed her as comely
Cromwell pushed to seal a vital alliance with Germany
A marriage he would not consummate as other Kings

And so the tale turns a puppet pulled by many strings

Henry sought divorce, Cromwell attainted for treason
Witnesses verified poor Anne’s unpleasing appearance
And she agreed to an annulment given such sad reason
Divorce came on the ninth of July in the warmer season
Anne received property and friendship for forbearance.

And so the tale turns again let me crave your indulgence

Perhaps an epilogue might better qualify the day,

although the result is a somewhat bleak and brutal end to this reply
For headlong fifth wife, Catherine Howard married Henry later that July
Swiftly beheaded the following year aged just eighteen years for adultery
Anne may have been too plain to keep an ageing King’s wandering eye
But lived a life rich in peace, friendship, a kindly lady until her time to die.

A. McTiernan


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