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Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves (klēvz) [key], 1515–57, fourth queen consort of Henry VIII of England. The sister of William, duke of Cleves, one of the most powerful of the German Protestant princes, she was considered a desirable match for Henry by those English councilors, most notably Thomas Cromwell, who wished to ally England with the Schmalkaldic League. The marriage was agreed upon in 1539, and although Henry tried to break the contract after seeing his bride, they were married in Jan., 1540. Henry found Anne dull and unattractive, and the marriage was never consummated. This and the fact that Anne had previously contracted to marry the duke of Lorraine's son were used as grounds for divorce in July, 1540. Anne gave her consent and, by agreement, lived the rest of her life in England.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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