Maria of Jülich-Berg

Maria of Jülich-Berg (3 August 1491 – 29 August 1543) was the Duchess of Jülich-Berg, as the daughter of Wilhelm IV, Duke of Jülich-Berg and Sibylle of Brandenburg.[1] She became heiress to her father’s estates of Jülich, Berg and Ravensberg after it had become apparent that her parents’ marriage would not produce any more children. In 1509, Maria married John III, Duke of Cleves. Their daughter, Anna, became the consort of King Henry VIII of England.

Maria of Jülich-Berg
Duchess of Jülich-Berg
Stained Glass Depiction of Maria of Jülich-Berg.png
Stained glass depiction of Maria
Born3 August 1491
Jülich, Kreis Düren, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Died29 August 1543 (aged 52)
Büderich, Kreis Wesel, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Noble family
(m. 1509; d. 1539)
In detail
FatherWilliam IV, Duke of Jülich-Berg
MotherSibylle of Brandenburg


Duchess Maria was born on 3 August 1491 in Jülich, Germany, as the daughter of Duke Wilhelm IV and Duchess Sibylle. In 1496, at the age of 5, Duchess Maria was betrothed to the 6-year-old Duke of Cleves, John.[1][2] Eventually, in 1509, they married. Maria's estates and titles were then merged with the Duchy of Cleves.

The marriage resulted in the 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.[3] 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.[4] This differed from the education typically given to daughters of the English nobility and gentry.[5] 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.[6] 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'.[6]


Name Lifespan Notes
Electress of Saxony
17 January 1512 –
21 February 1554
Married John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony in 1527. Had issue.
Queen of England
1515 –
16 July 1557
Married Henry VIII, King of England in 1540. No issue.
Duke of Jülich-Cleves-Berg
28 July 1516 –
5 January 1592
Married Jeanne, Queen of Navarre in 1541. No issue. Remarried to Archduchess Maria in 1546. Had issue.
Princess of House La Marck
17 October 1517 –
1 March 1586
Didn’t marry nor had issue.



  1. ^ a b c d e Ward, Prothero & Leathes 1934, p. table 38.
  2. ^ Darsie, Heather R. (2020-02-06). "Death of Johann III of Cleves and Ascension of Wilhelm V: Anna of Cleves' Future Changes". Maidens and Manuscripts: Taking a fresh look at people and events from 1347 to 1625, with a focus on women and illuminated manuscripts. Retrieved 2022-07-08.
  3. ^ Johann F. Knapp: Regenten- und Volks-Geschichte der Länder Cleve, Mark, Jülich, Berg und Ravensberg , Becker, 1836, p. 512
  4. ^ Darsie, Heather (April 2019). Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King's 'Beloved Sister'. Stroud: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445677101.
  5. ^ Darsie, Heather (April 2019). Anna, Duchess of Cleves: The King's 'Beloved Sister'. Stroud: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445677101.
  6. ^ 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.