Although Henry’s fourth wife is typically remembered as a dowdy ‘Flander’s Mare’, historian Elizabeth Norton argues that this image of her couldn’t be further from the truth. Speaking to Rhiannon Davies, she paints a picture of Anne as a beleaguered German princess who managed to come out of her disastrous marriage on top, amassing riches, a string of palaces – and even intimate invitations from the king himself…


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Dr Elizabeth Norton is a historian specialising in the queens of England and the Tudor period. Her books include Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII’s Discarded Bride (Amberley, 2009)

Explore the full video series

In our accompanying six-part video series, leading Tudor historians delve into the fascinating lives of each of Henry VIII’s iconic queens. Could Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard have avoided the executioner’s block? Why can Anne of Cleves be seen as the true survivor? And who was the queen whom Henry loved most?

Find out in this video series exclusively available to HistoryExtra subscribers. All episodes are available to watch now:

On the podcast | Explore the full Six Wives audio series

The story of King Henry VIII’s six wives is a tale of political crisis and personal tragedy, sacrifice and survival, sex and death, scandal, love and betrayal. But, after centuries of myth have built up around this story, has it clouded our view of the real women involved? In our accompanying six-part podcast series, we’ll be peeling back the layers of mythmaking to take another look at these fascinating women, who shaped the course of Henry’s reign – and the history of England.


Want to learn more about the queens?

  • Explore the full podcast and video series plus a range of companion content from across HistoryExtra on our Six Wives hub


Rhiannon DaviesSection editor, BBC History Magazine

Rhiannon Davies is section editor for BBC History Magazine and our Tudor ambassador, writing a fortnightly newsletter in which she shares the latest Tudor news, anniversaries and content with her audience. She also regularly appears on the award-winning HistoryExtra podcast.