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Henry VIII Part X: English Bible & Anne of Cleves

The first English Bible given authorization by the King to be used in the Churches in England was introduced in April of 1539. Cromwell made sure that all the churches provided a copy of this Bible in a place that all could read it. In this article, you will learn other changes to religion Henry VIII is responsible for.

Two months after the release of the First English Bible, the Six Articles was created. This doctrine was another brainchild of Henry’s that dealt with the faith of the new Anglican Church. This type of church held onto the majority of practices and beliefs of the Catholic church, but the head of the Church was the King , and not the Pope.

Henry’s break from Rome was complete. He was married to his third wife, Jane Seymour, and had played a major role in the shift of religion and politics during his time. We all know that Henry would have six wives in total and he still faced the challenge of bringing a male heir into the world. Jane did not get pregnant right away, but when she did, she gave birth to a son in October 1538 that they named Edward. Unfortunately, Jane died two weeks later and Henry was quite upset. Jane held a special place in his heart and on his deathbed, he requested to be married next to Jane.

Henry then married Anne of Cleves after being a single man for two years. He spent time with his son Edward, who was weak and sickly. When Henry broke free from Rome, England became greatly isolated from most of Europe. Advisors suggested that Henry should marry in the name of politics , and take a German princess as his wife. This would create an alliance with Germany, which was considered an influential Protestant nation in Europe. Two potential princesses were chosen and Hans Holbein was sent to paint their portraits. The princesses were sisters and daughters of the Duke of Cleves. The eldest daughter, Anne, was chosen to become his wife.  

When 24-year-old Anne of Cleves arrived in England, it was December of 1539. However, Henry was not pleased with her appearance and demanded that the ministers find a way to end the marriage. There were no alternatives for Henry, so the two were married in January of 1540. The union only lasted six months, as Henry was unable to consummate the marriage. When they divorced, it was on good terms. Anne was well provided for and lived a comfortable life in England.

Her settlement was generous. She received Richmond Palace and Hever Castle (the former home of Henry’s in-laws, the Boleyns). In Lewes, Sussex, she owned a property called Anne of Cleves House , it was a place that she never even lived in. Along the way, Henry and Anne became good friends and she was made an honorary member of the King’s family. People referred to her as ‘the King’s Beloved Sister.’ She was given invitations to court often and when it came to being compared to other women, she was respected over all others , with the exception of his own wife and daughters.

In the end, Anne of Cleves would also go onto live longer than Henry , dying in 1557.