Author Topic: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves  (Read 51543 times)

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Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2006, 05:35:13 PM »
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Is it possible Henry was impotent? Is it possible that none of his later marriages were consummated? He had no further issue.



Well, as Kim says, Henry took pains to assure his doctors he was still having 'nocturnal emissions'. In fact, I think he tried a bit too hard to convince them so - maybe he was covering up something. He may well have been impotent . . .I'm inclined to think he did sleep with Katherine Howard, but not Catherine Parr - because as soon as she married Thomas Seymour she became pregnant.
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elena_maria_vidal

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2006, 06:42:22 PM »
I wonder why Katherine Howard did not become pregnant? You know, I think that a lot of the fertility problems Henry had with his various wives were his own fault. I always heard that when his skull was exhumed and examined in modern times there were signs of syphilus on it and the same traces were in all his wives (I am not certain about Anne of Cleves) and his children (a congenital defect) when their corpses were examined. He may have contracted it from his first sexual encounter as a teenager (Bessie Blount?). Very tragic, considering the repercussions on so many people's lives.

helenazar

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2006, 06:51:19 PM »
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Does anyone who has more tenchnical knowlege here know if 'nocturnal emissions' have any reflection on whether or not Henry would be able to consummate his marriage? As I see it, the 'emissions' take place while he's asleep and has no control, whereas 'bedding' his wife is a totally different matter.


PL, often it is a psychological issue, not physical, which seems to have been in Henry's case too.

ilyala

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2006, 03:58:23 AM »
i read somewhere that all henry's children were sterile but the truth is that in the case of edward and mary you can't really judge, can you? i mean edward died as a teenager and mary was an old maid when she married, even by today's standards and even in the day and age of today with all the technology, many women her age find it hard to conceive... not to mention then when you had practically nothing... on the other hand no-one can prove that elizabeth ever had any sexual contact with any man so the fact that she didn't have any children could not necessairly mean she was not able to...

on the other hand, the tudor statistics were not very prommising, just looking at henry 7th's children.  someone else on this forum pointed out that edward died in a simmilar way with arthur, his uncle. henry 7th also had many children who died very young or were stillborn, just like his son... also margaret tudor had children who died young, didn't she? i believe james 5th had two older brothers that died before he was born... :-/... also he didn't die an old man himself, and he also had two sons that died very young... see a pattern here?

i've heard the syphilis theory but i am not entirely convinced by it...  how certain are the results of the analysis? was it just a visual observation or were chemical tests run on henry's remains?

bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2006, 07:47:09 AM »
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i read somewhere that all henry's children were sterile but the truth is that in the case of edward and mary you can't really judge, can you? i mean edward died as a teenager and mary was an old maid when she married, even by today's standards and even in the day and age of today with all the technology, many women her age find it hard to conceive... not to mention then when you had practically nothing... on the other hand no-one can prove that elizabeth ever had any sexual contact with any man so the fact that she didn't have any children could not necessairly mean she was not able to...

on the other hand, the tudor statistics were not very prommising, just looking at henry 7th's children.  someone else on this forum pointed out that edward died in a simmilar way with arthur, his uncle. henry 7th also had many children who died very young or were stillborn, just like his son... also margaret tudor had children who died young, didn't she? i believe james 5th had two older brothers that died before he was born... :-/... also he didn't die an old man himself, and he also had two sons that died very young... see a pattern here?

i've heard the syphilis theory but i am not entirely convinced by it...  how certain are the results of the analysis? was it just a visual observation or were chemical tests run on henry's remains?


Here's a good article on Henry's illnesses. I don't think he had syphilis either. His children most certainly didn't.

http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Studios/1344/syphilis.html

Henry wasn't the type to sleep around - his only had two or three mistresses apart from his wives. His mistresses Bessie Blount, Mary Boleyn were respectable women, not prostitutes. One of the reasons he was so upset by the failure of the Cleves marriage, was his "old-fashioned" idea that he wanted to be in love with the woman he was married to.

Survival rates were low in just about all families at this time. The elaborate rituals surrounding royal pregnancies may have made survival even less likely.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

Offline Kimberly

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2006, 08:14:46 AM »
You are absolutely right Bell. Considering Henry's reputation as an old letcher, he really didn't have many mistresses.I really do believe he was quite a fastidious man who was looking for a happy and long-lasting marriage. Funny way to show it though :)
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ilyala

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2006, 09:06:59 AM »
i suppose he's a textbook case of a person who expected too much from his partner and was never satisfied. always looking for the perfect thing and never finding it... and on the way having many relationships, that would make him look like some womanizer when in fact he's just looking and looking...

elena_maria_vidal

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2006, 09:13:08 AM »
Very interesting article, Bell. I think there were a lot of things in those days that they called syphilus, whether they were or not, just as today in some countries there are illnesses that are being lumped together as AIDS, when they may be other things.

I never thought Henry was a lecher. Many people who are not promiscuous still contract STDs. Yes. All he really wanted was family life, and he did not tolerate blatant, public immorality at his court. But look at the way he went about attaining his goals. There was something wrong with his mind.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by elena_maria_vidal »

bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2006, 10:15:58 AM »
He certainly was a bit odd - I've often wondered whether this had to do with his relationship with his mother, Elizabeth of York (amateur psychologist strikes again!)

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2006, 11:26:44 AM »
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PL, often it is a psychological issue, not physical, which seems to have been in Henry's case too.


Thanks Helen.  ;)
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2006, 11:30:43 AM »
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i read somewhere that all henry's children were sterile but the truth is that in the case of edward and mary you can't really judge, can you? i mean edward died as a teenager and mary was an old maid when she married, even by today's standards and even in the day and age of today with all the technology, many women her age find it hard to conceive... not to mention then when you had practically nothing... on the other hand no-one can prove that elizabeth ever had any sexual contact with any man so the fact that she didn't have any children could not necessairly mean she was not able to...


Not to get too o/t, but I've heard that Mary had a problem with her pituitary (sp?) gland which caused hormonal upsets in her body and was behind the false pregnancies. Of course, there's no reason to believe that either of Edward or Elizabeth would have had trouble conceiving children.

Quote
on the other hand, the tudor statistics were not very prommising, just looking at henry 7th's children.  someone else on this forum pointed out that edward died in a simmilar way with arthur, his uncle. henry 7th also had many children who died very young or were stillborn, just like his son... also margaret tudor had children who died young, didn't she? i believe james 5th had two older brothers that died before he was born... :-/... also he didn't die an old man himself, and he also had two sons that died very young... see a pattern here?


But this wasn't really unusal at the time - look at Francois I of France and his wife Claude - their first 2 children died aged 3 and 8, another son aged 18 and a daughter aged 17. Henri II also had several children (Louis, Victoire and Jeanne) who died young.

"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
-Sherlock Holmes

"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

ilyala

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2006, 02:40:59 PM »
that is also true :)

Elisabeth

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2006, 10:56:41 AM »
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David Starkey suggests that the real reason was that Henry was a big ol' romantic (courtly love and all that), and Anne didn't respond in the correct way. He first presented himself to her in disguise. She was supposed to be bowled over by the mysterious (bulky) stranger according to the conventions of courtship.

Unfortunately she hadn't been warned about this, so she was really freaked out by this irritating guy who kept pestering her! Not a good start.

I kind of understand this version, but it still doesn't seem enough somehow!


This is all very true, but more background goes a long way to explaining why Henry and Anna could never have "hit it off," so to speak. Starkey emphasizes that Anna of Cleves was given a very restricted education - not only was she not taught languages, she was also not taught any of the courtly arts, for example music and dancing. Thus she had absolutely no knowledge of the conventions of chivalry and was as a result completely unprepared for and totally nonplussed by Henry's masquerade at their first meeting. Moreover, it's unlikely that she could have won Henry's favor even later, because of her lack of a proper education. As we all know, Henry was very musical and well-versed in the courtly arts and no doubt he found Anna to be an ungainly, awkward country bumpkin, embarrassing as a companion, much less as a wife.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »

Lorelei_Lee

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2006, 09:38:18 PM »
I've also read, possibly in Weir's or Fraser's collective bios, that Anne of Cleves might not have been as fastidious about her personal hygiene as Henry would have liked.  Not that Henry was in any position to cast aspersions, given the odor emanating from his ulcerated leg!  

(Speaking of the leg, does anyone else think it possible that Henry suffered from type II diabetes?  Diabetes sufferers do sometimes get ulcers on their feet and legs due to circulatory problems ... just a thought.)

I also have a feeling Anne's stature didn't help.  She was tall, and most of Henry's wives were quite petite.  Physical attraction is an odd thing.  Anne probably seemed attractive enough, at least to the objective observer.  But that certainly doesn't mean Henry found her so.  I think she just wasn't his physical "type" whereas Katherine Howard was.    






bell_the_cat

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Re: Henry VIII & Anna of Cleves
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2006, 12:57:27 AM »
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This is all very true, but more background goes a long way to explaining why Henry and Anna could never have "hit it off," so to speak. Starkey emphasizes that Anna of Cleves was given a very restricted education - not only was she not taught languages, she was also not taught any of the courtly arts, for example music and dancing. Thus she had absolutely no knowledge of the conventions of chivalry and was as a result completely unprepared for and totally nonplussed by Henry's masquerade at their first meeting. Moreover, it's unlikely that she could have won Henry's favor even later, because of her lack of a proper education. As we all know, Henry was very musical and well-versed in the courtly arts and no doubt he found Anna to be an ungainly, awkward country bumpkin, embarrassing as a companion, much less as a wife.


Henry knew about her standard of education in the summer of 1539 - his envoys told him about Anne's personality in their letters - yet he went ahead with the marriage regardless.
She ought to have been better briefed at Rochester and told to flutter her eyes and drop her fan etc. Maybe there was a deliberate lack of communication by someone.  :-/
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »