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Amalia of Cleves

German: Amalia von Kleve-Jülich-Berg
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Herzogtum Berg, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
Death: March 01, 1586 (68)
Düsseldorf, Herzogtum Berg, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Johann III "the Peaceful", Duke of Cleves and Maria, Duchess of Jülich-Berg
Sister of Sybille von Jülich-Kleve-Berg, Kurfürstin zu Sachsen; Anne of Cleves and Wilhelm V "the Rich", Duke of Jülich, Cleves & Berg

Managed by: Private User
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About Amalia of Cleves

Amalia of Cleves (German: Amalia von Kleve-Jülich-Berg; 17 October 1517, Düsseldorf – 1 March 1586, Düsseldorf), sometimes spelled as Amelia, was a princess from the House of Von der Mark. She was the fourth and youngest child of John III, Duke of Cleves, and his wife Maria of Jülich-Berg, born shortly after the birth of her brother William.

Amalia and her siblings had a rather grand lineage. She was descended from both the kings of England and France, and was closely related to Louis XII of France and the duke of Burgundy.


From Tudor Society - Amalia of Cleves, sister of Anne of Cleves, by Heather R. Darsie

Born 17 October 1517, Amalia was two full years younger than Anna. Amalia was one of two sisters considered by Henry as a potential future bride, with the eldest sibling, Sybilla, already married to the Duke of Saxony. Hans Holbein was sent to create likenesses of the two sisters, and his sketch of Amalia survives. In it, we see that Amalia has the same hooded eyes as Anna, though Amalia’s features are sharper. Amalia also appears to be a brunette, whereas Anna was documented as being blonde. Based off Holbein’s work, Henry chose Anna. What happened to Amalia?

Wilhelm, the brother of Sybilla, Anna and Amalia, now Duke of Jülich-Kleve-Berg, sought to make another regional political alliance for the House of Von der Mark. A few years after the English betrothal, an alliance was agreed to between Wilhelm and the Margrave of Baden, which would be sealed by the marriage between Amalia and the Margrave’s son. The Margrave had two sons; first, Bernhard, who had been turned out from his family due to Bernhard’s immoral and raucous behavior, but was later welcomed back after his sisters pleaded with the Margrave; and second, Karl, who was born in July 1529 and thus, almost twelve years younger than Amalia. Both Bernhard and Karl would go on to rule as Margraves.

Wilhelm, respecting his sisters who were all strong women, refused to marry Amalia to someone like Bernhard, whom Wilhelm believed could not beget heirs with Amalia due to his dissolute living. Wilhelm also refused to force Amalia to marry a child. As a result, Amalia remained in her brother’s court the rest of her life, without spouse or children.

Wilhelm went on to have four daughters and two sons. Amalia helped raise her nieces, who all went on to make good marriage matches. Interestingly, all four nieces received a Lutheran education, whereas the two sons received a Catholic education. Given that Amalia’s father was very tolerant of religious differences and the family’s connection with Luther through the court of the oldest child Sybilla, it is not as odd as it may first seem. Amalia herself observed the Lutheran faith and was unwilling to allow her nieces to adhere to Catholicism. Amalia’s dedication to Lutheranism so enraged Wilhelm at one point that he drew his sword and went after Amalia. But for the fast-thinking of a servant who shut the door in Wilhelm’s face, things could have turned grim for Amalia quite quickly.

Amalia also seems to have enjoyed music and poetry. There is a songbook, the original of which can be found in Berlin, in which Amalia was very interested. The book was owned by Katharina von Hatzfeld, who, despite being almost 20 years Amalia’s junior, was likely friends with the youngest Duchess of Cleves. The song book contains five spiritual songs, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and twenty-seven love songs, interspersed with short poems or rhymes. There is also a poem by Amalia hand-written into the book, which is about longing for a beloved.

Amalia died 1 March 1586 in Düβeldorf, the seat of power for her family. Four years earlier, Wilhelm’s wife and Amalia’s sister-in-law died, but Amalia refused to go to the Catholic ceremony. Wilhelm got his revenge upon Amalia by having her interred in St. Lambertus Church in Düβseldorf, a Catholic church. She had outlived her two older sisters by almost thirty years. That is what happened to Amalia.


  • cites
  • Norton, Elizabeth (2009). Anne of Cleves: Henry VIII's Discarded Bride. Amberley Publishing Limited. ISBN 9781445606774.
  • M. Warnicke, Retha (2000). The Marrying of Anne of Cleves: Royal Protocol in Early Modern England. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521770378.
  • R. Darsie, Heather. "Amalia of Cleves, sister of Anne of Cleves". The Tudor Society. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  • Saaler, Mary (1995). Anne of Cleves: Fourth Wife of Henry VIII. Rubicon Press. ISBN 9780948695414.
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Amalia of Cleves's Timeline

October 17, 1517
Düsseldorf, Herzogtum Berg, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation
March 1, 1586
Age 68
Düsseldorf, Herzogtum Berg, Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation