Today I want to take a look at the coronation mottos chosen by the six wives of Henry VIII. Each motto really seemed to fit the queen and her reign!
Katherine of Aragon chose “Humble and Loyal” as her motto. She certainly lived up to this, and was very loyal to Henry, even during countless infidelities!
Anne Boleyn chose as her coronation motto “La Plus Heureuse”, or in the English “The Most Happy.” This particular motto was exactly how she was feeling at the point of being coronated, after seven long years she was finally queen. She was also pregnant with what both her and Henry believed to have been a son and heir, but she bore instead Elizabeth I! Elizabeth I went on to be the greatest queen England ever knew, much to the irony of Henry’s obsessions with sons!
Jane Seymour chose as her motto “Bound to Obey and Serve.” She would go on to obey and serve Henry well, and even gave him his longed for son! Of course, she would end up dying in childbed not long after giving birth to that child. This was a tragic end to a short lived queen.
Anne of Cleves chose “God Send Me Well to Keep” for her coronation motto. This is a perfect motto for a young queen leaving her native Germany for the first time! She was kept well, even after divorcing the king, and ended up outliving all of Henry’s queens. She was even welcome at court as a good friend and “sister” to the king after the marriage ended!
Katheryn Howard chose the motto “No Other Will Than His” when she became queen of England. This motto had become a darkly foreshadowing omen as she was found guilty of adultery and treason! She was merely a young girl forced into a marriage with a much older king, and paid for her whims with her life.
Finally Katharine Parr chose “To Be Useful in All That I Do” as her motto. She proved herself incredibly useful in every way, including as a stepmother and as a nurse to her ailing husband! She had a sad end after Henry’s death. She would remarry to Thomas Seymour (who she had loved for years) but would die in childbirth not long after!
As a bonus I am going to discuss an earlier motto of Anne Boleyn’s. Before closing her coronation motto Anne took on the motto “Ainsi Sera, Groigne Qui Groigne.” This translated to “Grumble All You Like, This is How it’s Going to Be.” That phrase made her thoughts about the court gossips obvious in the years before she became queen of England!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the mottos of the six wives! Let me know your thoughts on their chosen mottos in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is one I found on fanpop.com.
- The Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser