Thursday 13th April

Drama Day

Sussex Past are offering ‘a day of dramatic activity’ for eight pluses in Anne of Cleves House today. It is a drop-off event. You’ll be leaving your kids in good hands, and in a fine setting. Sometimes it is easy to forget the rich historical heritage that we have in Lewes, and what amazing venues we have for such events.

Anne of Cleves was a wise woman, who chose not to make a drama out of a crisis after her brief six-month period as the fourth wife of Henry VIII came to an end. They had married in January 1540, effectively against Henry’s wishes. Having been persuaded to wed for political purposes, he had sent Hans Holbein to paint Anne, and was pleased with the favourable portrait which came back (see right). But it seems that Holbein had airbrushed out the queen-to-be’s smallpox scars, and Henry, on first meeting his future wife, had somewhat ungallantly declared, “I like her not”. By July, Henry had managed to annul the marriage, divorcing the woman he cruelly dubbed ‘the Flanders Mare’ to wed Catherine Howard a mere 20 days later. Anne sensibly chose to stay on good terms with Henry (by now no oil painting himself), and effectively became his ‘sister’ in the court. She managed to amass a small personal fortune, as well as a property portfolio including Hever Castle in Kent and the then-new timber-framed Wealden Hall House in Lewes. What a dramatic place for your kids to start off an illustrious acting career! The event lasts from 10.30am - 3pm, so don’t forget to pack some lunch for your budding thespians. Pre-booking is required. NW

Holbein’s Anne of Cleves portrait was enough for
Henry VIII to say ‘I will’
Anne of Cleves House, Southover High St, Lewes
When? 10.30am – 3pm
How Much? £10
Anne of Cleves House
(t) 01273 474610
(w) Website