In 1540 Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. Henry’s decision to marry Anne was based on a portrait miniature painted by Hans Holbein. The marriage was made for political reasons but ended in divorce six months later. Henry VIII awarded her the honorary title of ‘The King’s Sister’, £500 a year, a sufficient household and two houses. In addition, he allowed her to lease a number of manors to enhance her status and income, including Hever, at an annual rent of £9-13s-3½d. Anne settled happily in England and became good friends of the King and Anne Boleyn’s daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I.
Anne owned Hever Castle until her death in 1557 but it is not known how much time she spent at the Castle. However, there is a surviving letter written by Anne to Mary Tudor in 1554 signed ‘from my poore house of Hever’.
Learn about the rare wooden panel from a former home of Anne of Cleves that can be found at Hever Castle.