I am delighted to host a stop on the blog tour to celebrate the publication of ‘Children of the House of Cleves: Anna and Her Siblings’ by Heather R Darsie. Thank you to Heather and Amberley Publishing for asking me to take part.
It was the Wyatt Rebellion in January and February 1554 which led to Lady Jane’s execution. In this guest excerpt, Heather looks at how the rebellion affected Anna of Cleves.
‘Anna of Cleves’ life in England improved substantially after her stepson Edward VI died in 1553. Anna and Mary I of England were very friendly with each other. Anna resumed coming to court, and even tried to help her friend Mary find a suitable husband. Mary wound up desiring a Spanish match, of which some in England unfortunately did not approve,
“For any number of reasons, which are still debated by historians, Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger, Sir Edward Courtenay, and their friends were not in favor of Mary’s Spanish marriage. The rebellion began shortly after the marriage announcement in January, and quickly fell apart within weeks. Unfortunately for Anna, she was implicated in the rebellion. Simon Renard, writing to the sickly Emperor Charles V,
‘Sire: To-day [9 February 1554], … this present dispatch will partly serve as an answer to the … intrigues which have now been discovered..… I assure you that there never was seen a more steadfast lady than the Queen [Mary], nor one more devoted to you… I expect to see the King of France make war on England … because he does not wish the Queen well…[and] because he has promised the Duke [Wilhelm] of Cleves…thus to revenge himself for Henry VIII’s repudiation of his sister [Anna]…’
A few days later, Mary investigated. Renard wrote to Charles V on 12 February,
‘Sire: The Queen of England …tolf me that the Lady [Anna] of Cleves was of the plot and intrigued with the Duke of Cleves to obtain help for Elizabeth [Tudor… The Queen …is now absolutely determined to have strict justice done ….”
Whatever part Anna may or may not have played in Wyatt’s Rebellion, Mary believed, at least outwardly, that Anna was a danger…Neither Anna nor Wilhelm were ever reprimanded because of the accusation.”
This curious accusation explains why Anna was once more away from court for the bulk of Mary I’s reign.’
If this excerpt piqued your interest, consider reading Children of the House of Cleves: Anna and Her Siblings, set for release in the UK on 15 June 2023 and in the US/Internationally on 12 September 2023. Can’t wait until September? The US Kindle version is released on 15 June, too!
You might also like to read Heather R. Darsie’s biography on Anna of Cleves, the first researched and written from the German perspective, Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s Beloved Sister.
About the Author
Heather R. Darsie works as an attorney in the US. Along with her Juris Doctorate she has a BA in German, which was of great value in her research. She completed multiple graduate-level courses in Early Modern History, with her primary focus being the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V. She runs the website MaidensAndManuscripts.com, and is a co-host of Tudors Dynasty podcast.
Sources & Suggested Reading
Darsie, Heather R. Children of the House of Cleves: Anna and Her Siblings. Stroud: Amberley (2023).
Darsie, Heather R. Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King’s Beloved Sister. Stroud: Amberley (2019).
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Other stops on the tour