Maria of Jülich-Berg

Maria of Jülich-Berg (3 August 1491 – 29 August 1543) was a German heiress. She was born in Jülich, the daughter of Wilhelm IV, Duke of Jülich-Berg[1] and Sibylle of Brandenburg.

Maria of Jülich-Berg
Cranach the Elder Girl with forget-me-nots.jpg
Born(1491-08-03)3 August 1491
Died29 August 1543(1543-08-29) (aged 52)
Noble familyHouse of Jülich
Spouse(s)John III, Duke of Cleves
IssueSibylle, Electress of Saxony
Anne, Queen of England
William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
Amalia of Cleves
FatherWilliam IV, Duke of Jülich-Berg
MotherSibylle of Brandenburg

She was the only child of her parents, born after ten years of marriage. Maria became heiress to her father's estates of Jülich, Berg and Ravensberg.

Maria of Julich-Berg and her husband, John III, Duke of Cleves

She married Duke John III of Cleves. They were engaged in 1496, when Maria was five years old and John was six. In her marriage to John III, Duke of Cleves in 1509,[1] Maria's estates and titles were eventually to be merged with the Duchy of Cleves. This resulted in the so-called Cleves Union in which the Duchies of Jülich-Berg-Ravensberg and Cleves-Mark were combined to form the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg.

When her father died in 1511 Maria, being female, could not inherit, and Jülich-Berg-Ravensberg fell to her husband John III through her. At the request of Maria and John II, who resided in Cleves, Maria's mother Sibylle acted as governor of Jülich-Berg during this period.[2] John, who inherited the Duchy of Cleves-Mark in 1521, then became the first ruler of the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, which would exist until 1666.

She and John III had three daughters and a son. Sibylle (1512–1554),[1] William, Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg (Wilhelm) (1516–1592),[1] Amalia (1517–1586), and Anne (1515–1557) who was Queen consort of England from 6 January 1540 to 9 July 1540 to King Henry VIII.[1]

Maria of Jülich-Berg and her husband, John III, Duke of Cleves.

Maria was a traditional Catholic who gave her daughters a practical education on how to run a noble household, which was the norm for German noblewomen during the time period.[3] This differed from the education typically given to daughters of the English nobility and gentry.[4] In The Wives of Henry VIII, Antonia Fraser suggests that, following their marriage, one reason Henry VIII disliked her daughter Anne so much was that, unlike his first two wives and many of the court ladies around him, Anne did not possess educational and musical accomplishments and was ill-equipped to function in the contentious English court.[5] Duchess Maria herself appears not to have favored sending her daughter to England. She wrote in a later correspondence she loved her daughter so much that she was 'loath to suffer her to depart her'.[5]



  1. ^ a b c d e Ward, Prothero & Leathes 1934, p. table 38.
  2. ^ Johann F. Knapp: Regenten- und Volks-Geschichte der Länder Cleve, Mark, Jülich, Berg und Ravensberg , Becker, 1836, p. 512
  3. ^ Darsie, Heather (April 2019). Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King's 'Beloved Sister'. Stroud: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445677101.
  4. ^ Darsie, Heather (April 2019). Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King's 'Beloved Sister'. Stroud: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445677101.
  5. ^ a b Antonia Fraser, The Wives of Henry VIII (Vintage Books, 1993), Chapter: Anne of Cleves


  • Ward, A.W.; Prothero, G.W.; Leathes, Stanley, eds. (1934). The Cambridge Modern History. Vol. XIII. Cambridge at the University Press.