All About History

Tudor Tinder

The king’s excitement to see his new bride had dissipated as soon as he had laid his eyes on her. She was nothing like the demure and pretty princess pictured in her portrait. After their meeting was over, the infuriated king rounded on Cromwell and shouted, “I like her not! I like her not!” The story of King Henry VIII’s rejection of his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, has been passed down for centuries, so how did he end up with a bride that repulsed him? How did courtship and marriage work in Tudor England?

For the aristocracy, marriage was a question of political and economic interest, used as a means to further the power and social status of the family. With children dependent on their families for both land and money, they had little choice but to leave their choice of partner to their elders.

In particular, daughters depended on the cash dowries given to their groom or his father and had less say in their future compared to sons, who did not lose their property after their marriage. As for women, their wealth was automatically transferred to her husband upon their wedding – leaving it to the men to negotiate a suitable marriage.

It was believed that without the financial means to support themselves common couples

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