Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait by Alison Weir

annaofkleve

In Anna of Kleve, The Princess in the Portrait, readers are introduced to Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Anna von Kleve, commonly referred to as Anne of Cleves. Following the loss of his third wife, Jane Seymour—who died less than two weeks after the birth of Henry’s longed-for male heir, Prince Edward—it was decided Henry’s next wife should be the means of forming a political alliance, in case England was attacked by France and the Holy Roman Empire. Thomas Cromwell (Henry’s Principle Secretary and Chief Minister) suggested Anna, so the King sent Hans Holbien to paint a portrait of Anna and her younger sister, Amalia. Henry would use the portraits to decide which sister to marry. Pleased with Anna’s portrait, Henry chose her to be his wife.

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Katherine of Aragón, The True Queen by Alison Weir

katherineofaragon

Katherine, the daughter of the King and Queen of Spain, came to England and married Arthur, the Prince of Wales, only to be widowed after six months. Political intrigues following her subsequent betrothal to Henry nearly prevented her marriage to the future King, but they were wed following the death of Henry VII, and Katherine became Queen of England at last. She had no way of knowing the man she loved so deeply would eventually become the source of her greatest sorrow.

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