On this day in 1540, Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves were married at the Royal Palace of Placentia in Greenwich.
Henry was very vocal about how unhappy he was about the marriage; he had only met Anne in person 5 days beforehand, and felt she differed greatly from her portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger.
The marriage was never consummated. Henry confided to Cromwell after their wedding night “I liked her before not well, but now I like her much worse”, and sought to end the marriage as soon as possible.
Just 6 months later, Anne graciously accepted the annulment and because of this Henry granted her a generous settlement including Richmond Palace and Hever Castle, where she lived the rest of her life.
Henry’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, did not fare so well. Henry blamed him for forcing the marriage, which exposed Henry’s dwindling sexual power. On the same day, 28 July, Henry married Catherine Howard.
Discover more about the history of Hever Castle.