کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 05

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CHAPTER FIVE

Anne of Cleves

After lunch we sat and talked for a while. Uncle William was very interested in the letters.

‘So which letter are you going to read next?’ he asked. ‘The one from Anne of Cleves,’ I replied.

‘Oh yes, Henry’s ugly wife. When I first saw her, I thought she looked just like a horse! And the King thought that too!’

‘A horse?’ said Margaret. ‘So how did she become the King’s wife?’

‘It’s a long story. Do you want to hear it?’

‘Yes, please,’ said Margaret, smiling.

‘Well, after poor Queen Jane died, Henry was very sad and lonely. He wanted a new wife, and he wanted a second son. Children can die at any time, and Edward wasn’t strong. So everybody looked for a beautiful young woman to be the new Queen. Then someone told Henry about Anne of Cleves, a German Princess. They said that she was beautiful, young, and clever. And at that time the King wanted to please the Germans, because he was angry with the French. That all changed later, of course.

‘Henry couldn’t go and see Anne for himself, so he sent his artist Holbein to paint a picture of her. Holbein painted a fine picture of Anne and sent it back to Henry. Henry immediately fell in love with the beautiful woman in the picture and decided to marry her. So Anne sailed to England, and on her way to London she stopped for the night at a small town called Rochester. Henry couldn’t wait for Anne to arrive in London so he travelled secretly to Rochester to meet her. She knew nothing about this.

‘When Henry arrived at her house, he wasn’t wearing his fine clothes and he didn’t look like a king. He knocked on the door and went into her room. Oh dear! Poor Henry was very surprised. This wasn’t the beautiful woman in the picture. She had a sad face and a long nose, and she wasn’t very interested in this strange man. He didn’t tell her his name, and she didn’t understand that this was her new husband. What a terrible mistake!

‘Poor Henry went away to put on his fine clothes, and came back looking like a real king. Anne now saw that this strange man was her new husband. Henry kissed Anne and said his name. Poor Anne smiled at him, but she couldn’t speak any English so she stayed silent. After a few minutes Henry left. He was really unhappy. His new wife wasn’t beautiful, and she couldn’t say a word to him!’

‘Oh dear,’ said Margaret. She was enjoying this story very much. ‘What happened next?’

‘Well, Henry decided that he really didn’t want to marry Anne. Where was the beautiful young woman in the picture? He wanted her! But he couldn’t change things. He had to marry ugly Anne.’

‘And did the King learn to love her?’ asked Margaret.

‘No, he didn’t. He wanted to divorce her.’

‘And did he?’

‘Yes, after six months.’

‘How did he do that?’

‘Well, he learned that in her country Anne was engaged at one time to marry another man.’

‘And so he divorced her?’

‘Yes, poor Anne was only Queen for six months.’

‘And they didn’t have any children, did they?’

‘No, Henry didn’t sleep with Anne.’

‘But what happened to her? Is she still alive?’

‘Oh yes. But let’s read her letter and see what she says.’ ‘Perhaps it’s a love letter,’ said Margaret.

‘If it is, I’m sure that she never got a reply!’ said Uncle William, laughing. He opened the letter and began to read.

Palace of Richmond 20th July 1540

Dear Henry

You are a very good brother to me! Thank you forgiving me five hundred pounds a year and the Palace of Richmond. I spend hours walking round the gardens here - the trees and flowers are wonderful.

I have decided that I shall not go back to my country. I have thought about it carefully, and I know now that England is my real home. I feel so happy here. How can I leave all my dear English friends and my beautiful garden?

Come and visit me soon, dear brother.

Your loving sister Anne

‘She sounds really happy,’ said Margaret, surprised.

‘I think she is,’ said Uncle William. ‘She didn’t make trouble for the King about her divorce, so he was pleased with her. And then, of course, he was free to marry his next wife.’

‘The fifth one,’ said Margaret. ‘And who was she?’

‘Catherine will tell you all about her. I must leave you now, ladies.’ He stood up, and came to kiss me goodbye.

‘Goodbye, Uncle,’ I said. ‘Come again soon.’

‘Oh, I will. I’d like to read the rest of those letters.’ He looked at Margaret. ‘Be good, young lady.’ He smiled at us both and left the room.

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