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Challenging the ‘Ugliness’ of Anne of Cleves

#Challenging the ‘Ugliness’ of Anne of Cleves

When Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, died after giving birth to the long-wished-for prince in 1537, Thomas Cromwell immediately began enquiries into the marriageable ladies of the French royal family. The rapidity of this search reflected the reality of the situation: the realm needed a queen and brokering a dynastic marriage was a protracted business. Henry’s previous wives had not been strangers to him. Katherine of Aragon, although a foreign princess, was his older brother Arthur’s young widow; Anne Boleyn had been Katherine’s maid of honour; Jane Seymour had served both her predecessors in this role. But now Cromwell set out to find a potential partner among the princesses of Europe.

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