Question from Em - Anne of Cleves' reaction to Kathryn Howard
Henry VIII fell in love with Kathryn Howard while he was married to Anne of Cleves. This may seem like a ridiculous question, but how did Anne react to Henry's infidelity? Did Kathryn hate Anne, did she feel sorry for her, or what?
From the books I have read I find that Kathryn was not jealous of Anne. It seems that they became close friends.
It is probable that Anne was happy to have Henry's attention taken from her. Her's was not a happy marriage to Henry. She wisely knew when to evacuate the throne to another queen.
Katherine Howard was a lady in waiting to Anne of Cleve, so Anne of Cleve knew her. When Anne of Cleve found out that Henry VIII was dumping her for Katherine Howard, at first she was concern, since she was aware of what had happen to King Henry VIII others wives. She step aside and didn't put up a fight. She was relieved that she was able to keep her head,and some property to boot as well as a new title as the king sister. Katherine Howard was very nice and respectful to the former queen. Anne of Cleve didn't have to bow down to her whenever in her presents, and when Henry VIII gave Katherine 2 puppies, she gave one to Anne of Cleve. So you can say that Katherine Howard and Anne of Cleve became friends.
I am currently reading a book called The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy (based on the life of Lady Rochford)and it raised the question of whether Anna of Cleves deliberately made herself undesirable to King Henry to prevent him from wanting to consummate their arranged marriage. A very risky move indeed. She must have been anxious after learning of the fates of his previous wives. If this is true, she was cleverer than people give her credit for. She learnt from Katharine of Aragon that by being stubborn and refusing to give up her rights she could be exiled to live a poor and lonely life. She learnt from Anne Boleyn that to defy the King was an even greater mistake, and poor Jane Seymour paid the ultimate price after giving Henry the one thing he desired the most, a son.
So, when offered a divorce settlement of £4,000 per year and the title of King's Sister as well as manor houses (unsure of historical accuracy here), it seems she got rather a good deal out of her brief time with the king and escaped his clutches before things had a chance to turn sour. In Emily Purdy's book, she later appears to Henry as a beautiful woman, smelling sweetly of roses and minus the armpit hair and greasy skin that had repulsed him before.....Hmmm!
The book also refers to a possible lesbian relationship that Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard enjoyed.
I seem to remember reading that Anne of Cleves believed she was no longer a virgin because Henry kissed her good morning and good night. Obviously someone had neglected to give Anne a basic "birds and the bees" talk before she married Henry:) Still, while Anne was naive, she wasn't stupid. She got quite a lot from the divorce settlement, and best of all, she wasn't stuck with Henry or sent back to her own country in disgrace as a repudiated wife. So far as Katherine Howard went, she had no reason to be jealous of Anne; and Anne certainly had no reason to be jealous of her.
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