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Old 11-18-2019, 04:09 PM
 
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Any clues or thoughts as to why? And I get beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but were Anne of Cleves as a young woman around today, do you think most people would still view her as unattractive?
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Old 11-18-2019, 04:14 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
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I only remember one thing that I read years ago and it’s that she was snaggle toothed. Iow, she had Billy Bob teeth. Another thing I read last week though I don’t think it mentioned Anne specifically, is that many royals were so inbred that they had very disfiguring characteristics and one was that some had such overdeveloped jaws that they couldn’t even talk or eat without drooling.
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:22 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
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I think it was kind of a mail order bride situation. Henry was presented with a portrait of Anne. Apparently there was some artistic license involved in the painting and it did not reflect her true appearance. When Henry did meet her he described her as a “Flanders Mare” and felt so repelled that he did not feel he could consummate the marriage.
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
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When I studied on the subject it seemed that Henry was in some ways pressured into the marriage in the first place. And due to his record with marriage and his status with the Roman Empire not many people were jumping to the chance of taking up the seemingly volatile role of his wife. As soon as the arrangement was made it was clear Henry wasn't feeling 100% about the situation. Cleves was possibly going to war with the Empire and Henry didn't want to add that on his plate. Plus after having two marriages of love (that were cut short unsuspectedly) going back to one of political convenience just wasn't fulfilling.

Henry was pretty much thinking of ways to divorce her the second the marriage got started. Anne came from a smaller ruling region with a more "traditional" upbringing that focused on more domestic living and the English court was much more focused on literature and the arts that both sexes could relate to. This difference made it harder for the two to relate which Henry was primarily looking for in a marriage at this point.

Henry did pick Annes portrait out (he was given the choice between her and her sister) and while artists have been known to do a little pre computer photoshopping back then other portraits don't suggest there were extremely drastic changes in the portraits given to Henry. It's more possible any suggestion that he found her unattractive was to explain or give reason for not consummating the marriage (he still had to provide a just and acceptable reason for divorce. Not having sex because she was ugly was the easiest thing both parties could "prove" and agree was true) He already had picked out his next wife (Kathryn Howard) and Anne was perfectly okay and possibly even thrilled to avoid marriage and have a comfortable English life as an independent woman.

There's a lot of mystery surrounding her actual appearance since her "beauty" was why she was chosen but her "ugliness" was reason for her divorce. I'm not sure if I've heard any other individual beside Henry consider her ugly, if anything maybe plain or average for the time. We can also assume it was a combination of the political issues and the stark difference in cultures between Henry and her. Ironically Anne was probably the only wife outside Jane and Katherine Parr that Henry truly respected to the end of his days (and even Katherine had a couple moments were Henry found her questionable). She's truly an interesting and mysterious figure for that time and place.

Last edited by musicfamly5; 11-18-2019 at 06:27 PM..
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Texas
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I think Anne of Cleves dodged a bullet when Henry decided he wasn't attracted to her. Most of his other wives came to a bad end, in one way or another. His last wife survived him, she was lucky.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:13 PM
 
Location: The Beautiful Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PriscillaVanilla View Post
I think Anne of Cleves dodged a bullet when Henry decided he wasn't attracted to her. Most of his other wives came to a bad end, in one way or another. His last wife survived him, she was lucky.
She actually got a huge settlement from the annulment too. But she was in a similar position to Catherine of Aragon. She came from a powerful family of a foreign ally, so it would have been harder to off her than say Catherine Howard or Anne Boleyn, without serious foreign affairs implications. Of course, it only helped that she was so agreeable to the annulment.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by PriscillaVanilla View Post
I think Anne of Cleves dodged a bullet when Henry decided he wasn't attracted to her. Most of his other wives came to a bad end, in one way or another. His last wife survived him, she was lucky.
It was more than luck. Anne was actually useful to Henry; the whole marriage was political. Anne's brother, the Duke of Cleves, was aligned by treaties to the Protestant German states. At the time there was a rumor that the Pope was encouraging Catholic France and Spain to form an alliance to invade England, oust Henry, and restore England to Rome.

Henry's marriage to Anne and his ties to the Duke of Cleves made France and Spain leery of messing with England. It would have started a Medieval world war across Europe. While France and Spain invaded England, the German states would have invaded France and Spain.
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Florida
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There was a PBS series on Henry and his numerous wives and although he claimed Anne was ugly, by that time he was no prize himself. He was overweight and had ulcerating sores on his legs from a jousting accident. He was probably diabetic (and possibly impotent) by the time of his marriage to Anne and most likely used her unattractiveness as an excuse in order to save face. He was really a horrible person. Can't imagine why any of his wives after Anne Boleyn would want to marry him.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgsing View Post
I think it was kind of a mail order bride situation. Henry was presented with a portrait of Anne. Apparently there was some artistic license involved in the painting and it did not reflect her true appearance. When Henry did meet her he described her as a “Flanders Mare” and felt so repelled that he did not feel he could consummate the marriage.
His health was so bad by that time that it made him impotent.
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Haiku
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Originally Posted by chiluvr1228 View Post
Can't imagine why any of his wives after Anne Boleyn would want to marry him.
Being Queen of England is not a bad gig. And any male offspring would be in the line of succession which was a huge perk. Marriages in that era were not often about love.
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