Book Review: Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s Unwanted Wife by Sarah-Beth Watkins

Genre: History, nonfiction

Publisher: Chronos Books

Pub date: 26 October 2018

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Description from Amazon:

Anne of Cleves left her homeland in 1539 to marry the king of England. She was not brought up to be a queen, yet out of many possible choices she was the bride Henry VIII chose as his fourth wife. But, from their first meeting the king decided he liked her not and sought an immediate divorce. After just six months their marriage was annulled, leaving Anne one of the wealthiest women in England. This is the story of Anne’s marriage to Henry, how the daughter of Cleves survived him and her life afterwards.

Family motto

candida nostra fides- our faith is spotless

I’ve read three of Sarah-Beth Watkins’ books now and have not been disappointed, this was no different.

I’ve always found Anne of Cleves isn’t mentioned much or given much credit but Sarah-Beth brings her story to life. Since reading this I admire Anne of Cleves much more and the decisions she made.

It’s a fairly short book but remains focused on its topic and isn’t filled with unnecessary information.

I was really intrigued to learn about what happened to Anne after her marriage to Henry VIII was annulled and how she became one of the richest ladies in England and ‘the kings beloved sister’ despite the difficulties she faced. It was interesting to read about the kind side of Henry VIII such as waiving the dowry knowing Cleves couldn’t afford it and ensuring Anne was not short of funds, often giving her further funds to supplement her income.

For anyone interested in Anne of Cleves I highly recommend this. Sarah-Beth’s writing style is easy to read and the she provided sources reproduced as they were written which I love to read. The referencing throughout is meticulous.

Anne of Cleves was a smart, intelligent lady who made the best of her situation, although she sometimes struggled financially or with rumours about her person. Sarah-Beth brings home all of the difficult situations Anne faced during her life and the events that would affect her. It was also fascinating to read about her relationship with her family which appears to have remained strong despite her decision to remain in England.

This truly is a fantastic biography of Anne who is usually the least discussed wife of Henry VIII.

Anne of Cleves is available here:

Amazon UK


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