Anne of Cleves Haiku

Poorly-aging king

Whines that Tinder pic misleads

Someone’s head will roll

Anne of Cleves, fourth wife of Henry VIII, is best known for being dumped by a king who (although being handsome in his youth) was in no position to be judging anyone for their looks at his stage in life.

Why was he even looking for a wife anyway? Wife Number 3, Jane Seymour, had died in childbirth not that long ago, he still only had one son, and it was a great time to make some international alliances by means of matrimony. His chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, thought Anne was a great option and got her portrait painted. Henry saw the finished product and said, “Great! Bring her over.”

Except. Um. The initial meeting went poorly. Without actually saying who he was, he went up and embraced her – an action which naturally confused her. Afterwards, he claimed that the portrait was misleading and she was just so ugly IRL, but he may actually have been put off that his kingliness wasn’t immediately obvious to her. Henry seems to have been the only person who described her as ugly.

The marriage went through, but it was quickly annulled because Henry claimed he couldn’t get it up for her. And guess who’s head rolled! Not Anne’s! Thomas Cromwell’s! (His great great great nephew, Oliver Cromwell, did get to chop off another English king’s head, so I guess history made them square.)

Then Henry VIII had a mid-life crisis and married the teenaged Catherine Howard. This went great.

Honestly, though, Anne got the best deal out of all six of Henry’s wives. She lived a lot more comfortably than Catherine of Aragon did after her annulment, she didn’t get her head chopped, and unlike Catherine Parr, she didn’t have a subsequent disastrous marriage with her True Love. Good for her.

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