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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 438



disposal of so heartless and despotic a conjugal lord ; and after some fruitless efforts on the part of her brother's ambassadors, the matter dropped through, and she continued to dwell in single blessedness, rejoicing at her good fortune in having dashed from her brow that crown which to her had proved a thorny one, which had already led two of her successors into the paths of trouble and misery, and brought Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard to the block. From this period we have little to record of Anne. Her existence was tame and placid to a fault. Her highest ambition, it would appear, was to eat, drink, sleep, and discharge her debts with her easily obtained dower. If such conduct as this in a princess is to be lauded as a virtue—if a negative existence is the best of existences—if wealth, birth, influence owe no duty to the cause of advancement, of humanity, and of charity, then, and only then could Anne of Cleves have been, as some writers have asserted, a "lady of exalted qualities and virtues, and commendable regard." In August, 1543, Anne had to mourn tbe loss of her mother ; and after the death of her husband, Henry tbe Eighth, in 1547, she was annoyed by the mu tations to which the new government chose to subject her property. She formed sincere friendships with the Prin cesses Mary and Elizabeth, and appeared in public for the last time in Queen Mary's coronation procession, when she and Elizabeth rode in the same car riage. After the death of Henry the Eighth, Anne spent much of her time at Hartford and at Chelsea. At each of these places she had splendid residences, and it was at the latter that she expired of a lingering illness, on the seventeenth of July, 1557, and in the forty-first year of her age. By her will, which she made a few days before her demise, she bequeathed various sums to all her servants and at tendants ; a gold ring each to the Duke and Duchess of Cleves, to her sister Emily, to the Duchess of Suffolk, to the Countess of Arundel, and to the Lords Paget and "Waldeck, and her best jewel to Queen Mary, and the next best to the Princess Elizabeth. She professed to die a Catholic, and desired that for the well-being of her soul, all her debts should be paid, that her body should be buried according to Queen Mary's pleasure, and should have the suffrages of holy church according to the Catholic faith. Thus Anne of Clevcs, although she came to England a Lutheran, died a Catholic ; but when she changed, her faith, or what circumstance induced her so to do, our diligent research has not enabled us to discover. She was buried at Westminster Abbey, near the high altar, and at the head of King Sebert, and her funeral was performed with becoming pomp. On the third of August, a rich hearse with seven palls being prepared in the Abbey, her body was conveyed thither in procession. After the priests, clerks, and monks with the crosses, came Bishop Bonner, with the Abbot of Westminster, followed by Sir Edmund Peckham, Sir Richard Preston (two of Anne's executors), the Lord Admiral, Lord Darcy, and numerous knights and esquires. Behind, there came the gentlemen of Anne's household, and the chariot containing her bier, on each side of which rode four heralds with white silken flags, as an emblem that she had lived and died a virgin, and twelve banners, some of arms, some of white taffeta, richly wrought with gold forming the rear. At Charing cross, the procession was met by Anne's servants clad in mourning, and bearing an hundred lighted torches. At the Abbey door all the horsemen alighted, and the corpse, after Bishop Bonner had censed it, was carried in under a canopy of black velvet, and placed under the hearse. Dirge was then sung, and throughout the night, the bier, surrounded by burning tapers, was watched by the mourners. The next day, after requiem had been sung, a sermon preached, and mass said, the body was again censed by Bishop Bonner and the Abbot of Westminster, and immediately afterwards consigned with due solemnity to its final resting-place. After Anne's principal officers had broke their rods and staves, and cast them into her grave, and made their mass-ofFering,


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