The Badge of Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn’s badge of a crowned falcon upon a wood stump sprouting Tudor roses is quite famous, but what exactly does it mean? There is a great deal of symbolism embedded within the badge and it seems that each part was carefully chosen to signify something of importance.
In short the white falcon was adopted by Anne Boleyn as her badge sometime before or when her marriage to Henry VIII was announced. Eric Ives in his book ‘The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn’ suggests that she may have taken this bird from the heraldic crest of the Butlers which Anne’s father Thomas Boleyn was officially recognised as the heir. Claire Ridgway from ‘The Anne Boleyn Files’ also adds the significance of the falcon in Egyptian culture as majestic, powerful and of someone’s eagerness to set about the task at hand.
Tree Stump/Red and White Roses
Ives suggests that the tree stump with red and white roses bursting forth represents Henry VIII’s right to the throne, the white roses stating is claim to the Yorkist line through his mother and the red roses emphasising his right to the Lancastrian line through his father. The flowers bursting forth and the falcon landing on the stump may also represent Anne’s ability and willingness to bring new life to the Tudor line.
Crown and Sceptre
The crown and the sceptre in the crest not only represent Anne as Queen but also that her husband Henry VIII had authority within his Kingdom, authority to even reject the Pope in Rome and this authority was given to him from God.
All of these elements combined: the white falcon, the tree stump, the red and white roses and the crown and sceptre meld wonderfully together. The crest signifies Anne’s status as Queen and her willingness and her determination to not only act as Queen but to also bring a son (hopefully many sons) to further the Tudor lineage.; as well as emphasising her husband’s power and authority within the Kingdom.
Ives, E 2009, The Life and Death of Anne Boleyn, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
Grueninger, N 2010, Anne Boleyn Badges, Symbolism & Mottoes, viewed 5 August 2017, <http://onthetudortrail.com/Blog/anne-boleyn/anne-boleyns-falcon-badge/>.