|Intro||Duchess of Guelders who lived from 1417 to 1479|
|A.K.A.||Katherina van Kleef, Catharina van Kleef|
|Birth||25 May 1417 (Kleve)|
|Death||10 February 1479 (Rijnwaarden)|
Catherine of Cleves (25 May 1417 – 10 February 1479) was Duchess of Guelders by marriage to Arnold, Duke of Guelders. She acted as regent of Guelders during the absence of her spouse in 1450. The Hours of Catherine of Cleves was commissioned for her.
Duchess and regent
Catherine lived with her parents until 1431, despite already having been married the year before. She had close ties with Philip of Burgundy, who was mistrusted by her husband. Catherine had her daughter Mary raised at the Burgundian court. When her husband punished Driel, he lost support in his duchy. Catherine acted as intermediate between her husband and the Estates of the realm. In 1450, Duke Arnold went on a pilgrimage to Rome and Palestine. During his absence, Catherine acted as regent.
She supported her son Adolf when he took over power from his father. Charles, Duke of Burgundy had Adolf taken capture in 1470, when he proved an unreliable ally to Burgundy. Catherine spent her last years in Lobith, where she died in 1476.
Book of Hours
The Hours of Catherine of Cleves was commissioned for her when she married Arnold, Duke of Guelders, on 26 January 1430. It shows her lineage, as well as herself in prayer. The hours had been lost for four hundred years before resurfacing in 1856. It is one of the most richly decorated books of its kind that is preserved.