Editor’s Note: As an avid Tudor History lover, I freely admit that I haven’t been this excited about the release in a new biography in a very long time. Why? So little of Anna of Cleves, 4th wife of King Henry VIII, is known and what is believed to be true comes primarily from English sources. Heather R. Darsie, one of Queenanneboleyn.com’s valued contributors, not only has a unique perspective, but her meticulous research will be enlightening and potentially groundbreaking. Armed with competence in four languages, intellectual brilliance, and a passport, Heather researched previously unexplored European sources unearthing images of Anna and her family, along with a treasure trove of delightful new discoveries.
Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’ is available for pre-order, with links provided below. Reserve your copy today and watch for QAB’s upcoming interview with Heather and book review on UK Release Day, 15 April 2109.
Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’
Heather R. Darsie
Today I am so very pleased to share with you the cover of my biography, Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’, about Henry VIII of England’s German fourth wife. Most commonly known to English speakers as Anne of Cleves, Anna’s life has been reviewed mostly from an English perspective using English sources. Anna piqued my interest back in 2012, and I set out to read any book on her that I could find. They all told the same, basic story: Henry needed a bride, Thomas Cromwell arranged a match with Anna, Hans Holbein the Younger’s portrait of her was misleading. Henry wed Anna, found her repulsive, annulled the marriage immediately. Somewhere along the way, Cromwell got dead, mostly for religious reasons. I thought to myself that there had to be more to it than that.
I first questioned how Anna’s name was pronounced. I began studying the German language when I was 15 years old and eventually received my Bachelor of Arts in German Languages and Literature. I knew from my linguistic training that if she indeed spelled her name as, “Anne,” it would be pronounced like “Anna.” With that nagging thought, I was off. I spent the next several years communicating with archives throughout Europe to find out more about this elusive woman. My travels to learn about her primarily took me to England, France, and of course, Germany. The information I compiled paints a much different picture to the ‘Flanders Mare,’ whose name was Anna.
Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’ revisits English sources which are frequently relied on to see if they echoed the sources I researched throughout Europe. Several elements of Anna’s story are missing from a Continental, particularly German, perspective. Other elements are completely different when using sources outside of England. It is my hope that this biography of Anne of Cleves or Anna of Cleves will flesh out her story as a German woman from the Holy Roman Empire and bring a greater understanding of Anna’s life. There are several new images of her and her family contained within my biography from European nations on the Continent that I am excited to share.
I do hope you enjoy reading my biography about Anna of Cleves, and I look forward to new discussions about her life.
U.K. release — 15 April 2019 (with shipping to the U.S. if you don’t want to wait for the U.S. release): Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’ — Amazon UK
U.S. release, 1 July 2019: Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’ — Amazon USA
MORE ABOUT ANNA OF CLEVES: THE KING’S BELOVED SISTER
‘The King’s Beloved Sister’ looks at Anne of Cleves from a new perspective, as a woman from the Holy Roman Empire and not as a woman living almost by accident in England. Starting with what Anne’s life as a child and young woman was like, the author describes the climate of the Cleves court, and the achievements of Anne’s siblings. It looks at the political issues on the Continent that transformed Anne’s native land of Cleves – notably the court of Anne’s brother-in-law, and its influence on Lutheranism – and Anne’s marriage. Finally, Heather Darsie explores ways in which Anne influenced her step-daughters Elizabeth and Mary, and the evidence of their good relationships with her.
Was Anne – the Duchess Anna – in fact a political refugee, supported by Henry VIII? Was she a role model for Elizabeth I? Why was the marriage doomed from the outset? By returning to the primary sources and visiting archives and museums all over Europe (the author is fluent in German, and proficient in French and Spanish) a very different figure emerges to the ‘Flanders Mare’.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather R. Darsie lives in the United States with her family and three parrots. Heather’s new biography Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s ‘Beloved Sister’ will be released by Amberley Publishing on 15 April 2019 in the United Kingdom and on 1 July 2019 in the United States. Heather is an apprentice bowyer, who also enjoys knitting. She holds a BA in German languages and literature, as well as Juris Doctorate. For more information about Heather, do visit her website at Maidens and Manuscripts. A valued contributor to Queenanneboleyn.com, also enjoy her content here at the website.