I was in Kleve today – a small town on the border between Germany and the Netherlands. Best known in the English world for its most famous daughter, Anne of Cleves. Anne, of course, was the unfortunate lady who was matched with Henry VIII of England. Henry sent Hans Holbein over to paint portraits of Anne and her sister Amalia, both of whom he was considering as candidates for his fourth wife. (This was the Tudor equivalent of online dating… but without the internet it was rather unwieldy). It would appear that Holbein’s portrait of Anne was the Tudor equivalent of a nicely photo-shopped image. Henry chose her, based on the portrait… but when she turned up, he was less than enamoured with “that Flemish mare” – and allegedly the marriage was never consummated.
Nowadays in Kleve, Anne’s over-flattering portrait is still very much in evidence – which suggests it is well worth getting a decent photo done for your social media profile picture if you have an eye to posterity!
There were a few cool things in Kleve. The first was the fantastic (though rather dried out) wildflower planting all around the city car-parks.
The other was a beautiful if slightly disturbing statue in the centre of town… anyone have any idea what this is supposed to signify?