Anne of Bohemia was born on 11 May 1366 in Prague as the daughter of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and Elizabeth of Pomerania. She was well educated and spoke several languages. As her father died when she was still young, her marriage to King Richard II of England was negotiated by her brother Wenceslaus, King of the Romans.
By 1381, negotiations were complete, and Anne set out for England accompanied by a great train of ladies and gentlemen. She spent a month in Brussels as the French were eager to capture Anne and her uncle, the Duke of Brabant, had to negotiate a safe-conduct for Anne. She then sailed from Calais to Dover, where she was met by the King’s uncle, John of Gaunt. She spent the Christmas season at Leeds Castle before travelled to Westminster, where she, at last, met her future husband for the first time. On 14 January 1382, they married in the chapel at Westminster Palace, and her coronation as Queen of England followed on 22 January. It was said to be a love match, and they were inseparable throughout their marriage.
Anne had little interest in politics, but she did love fashion, and she is credited with introducing the side-saddle and the high-peaked horn headdress to England. Also, immediately after her arrival, she ordered an English translation of the Gospels, to help her learn English.
The couple made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Walsingham in 1383, which may have been an attempt at seeking divine intervention for their childlessness. Anne became known as “Good Queen Anne”, as she became famed for her work as a mediator. She had even asked for a general pardon on the occasion of her coronation.
Anne fell ill with the plague at her favourite palace of Sheen and died on 7 June 1394. She was still only 28 years old. Her grief-stricken husband ordered that the palace be torn down so he would never have to visit it without her. She was given a grand funeral in Westminster Abbey and never lived to see her husband’s downfall.1