Henry VIII Blamed His Impotence on His Wife Anne (Video)
The marriage between Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves was sealed not in love, but in diplomatic necessity. Henry had sent his court painter, Hans Holbein, to capture Anne's likeness, and upon seeing her portrait, he was elated. However, their first encounter left him disillusioned, akin to a modern-day online date gone wrong. With a treaty already signed, Henry was bound by duty to proceed with the marriage. Their wedding night proved to be a challenge for the ailing king, plagued by wounds and a fading virility. He cited Anne's appearance and an unpleasant odor as reasons for his inability to consummate the marriage, leading to rumors of impotence.
In truth, Henry's impotence stemmed from his declining health, but to safeguard his image, his courtiers propagated the narrative of Anne's unattractiveness. The marriage, entangled in both political and personal complexities, was eventually annulled. It serves as a reminder that history often conceals the more profound intricacies of royal lives behind diplomatic facades and that powerful people will do anything to hide embarrassing truths.
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Top image: King Henry VIII blamed his impotence on Anne of Cleves. Source: Tony Baggett / Adobe Stock.