History Files


Early Modern Britain

Friends & Foes of Henry's Wives

From Channel 4's The Six Wives of Henry VIII series by Doctor David Starkey, September 2001



Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Part 3: Jane Seymour / Anne of Cleves

Sir Nicholas Carew

During Jane Seymour's marriage to Henry, a courtier named Sir Nicholas Carew took a traditional approach to religion and fiercely opposed radical reformers such as Thomas Cromwell.

Carew was expelled from court for a time in 1519 but returned quickly. In the end he was executed at Tower Hill in 1538 or 39.

Robert Aske

From Yorkshire, he took the position of attorney at London's Gray's Inn and commanded the Catholic uprising, Pilgrimage of Grace, in opposition to Henry VIII's attack on the monasteries.

He was hanged for treason in 1537.

John, Duke of Cleves

Father of Henry's fourth wife Anne, the Duke of Cleves was allied to the Lutherans, although not a Lutheran himself.

In 1539 Henry VIII showed signs of interest in an alliance as a defence against a possible crusade against England, but when the Franco-Spanish friendship began to weaken, the need for such a move lessened.

Cleves is on the lower Rhine and the duke was a leading figure of Protestantism in Germany.

Hans Holbein the Younger

The son of accomplished painter Hans Holbein the Elder, he was born in Augsburg in 1497. He learned his skills under his father and was appointed painter to Henry VIII in 1536.

As well as his infamous painting of Anne of Cleves, he also produced designs for woodcuts for Martin Luther's Old and New Testaments and numerous portraits of leading English figures, including Thomas Cromwell and several of Henry's other wives.



Text copyright Channel 4 Television or affiliates. Reproduction is made on a 'fair dealing' basis for the purpose of disseminating relevant information to a specific audience. No breach of copyright is intended or inferred.