On January 6, 1540, King Henry VIII reluctantly married his fourth wife, the German Anne of Cleves. Though Henry had been smitten by Anne’s portrait, he was not smitten by her appearance in person.
“She is nothing so fair as she hath been reported,” the surly king complained.
After just six months of marriage, Henry requested an annulment on the grounds that the union had never been consummated. Anne agreed to the request, and a grateful Henry gave her a generous settlement and thereafter called Anne “the King’s Beloved Sister.” Now, more than 475 years after the ill-fated marriage, ghosts reportedly walk properties bearing Anne’s name.
As part of the settlement, Anne received a house in Lewes, East Sussex, England. Known as the Anne of Cleves House, the property is now a museum, and rumor has it a ghost lurks in one of the bedrooms. Could it be Anne? Researchers think it highly unlikely as there’s no evidence Anne lived in, or even saw, the Lewes home.
The former queen also received a home in Melton Mowbray in the annulment settlement. Today, the property is a popular restaurant and pub known as Anne of Cleves and is reportedly haunted by a woman in white and a gentleman who lurks near the back door. Tales of moving objects and elusive shadow people also plague the old building.
Of all Henry’s wives, Anne of Cleves has the most quiet afterlife. She is the only spouse without an established haunting. The king’s other five wives – Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard, and Katherine Parr – reportedly haunt a slew of properties throughout England.