The White Falcon

Today I would like to discuss Anne Boleyn’s coronation song.    On Sunday June 1, 1533 Anne Boleyn was coronated Queen of England.   Her coronation ballad was titled The White Falcon, and was written to honor her new role as queen.    It was a time that Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII were at their happiest.    She was finally his wife after years of fighting to be together!    Not to mention that she was pregnant with what the whole nation hoped would be a healthy son.     We now know that the child was in fact healthy, but was not a son, instead the baby born three months after this coronation was Elizabeth I!

The title of her coronation song was after her heraldic bird.    The lyrics of the song were written by Nicholas Udall, and were used to express what was expected of her as a queen.    Below I will type out the ballad as it appears in The Anne Boleyn Papers by Elizabeth Norton.

“This White Falcon,

Rare and geason,

This bird shineth so bright;

Of all that are,

No bird compare

May with this Falcon White.

The virtues all,

No man mortal,

Of this bird can write.

No man earthly

Enough truly

Can praise this Falcon White.

Who will express

Great gentleness

To be in any wight;

He will not miss,

But call him this

The gentle Falcon White.

This gentle bird

As white as curd

Shineth both day and night;

Nor far ne near

Is any peer

Unto this Falcon White.

Of body small,

Of power regal,

She is, and sharp of sight;

Of courage hault

No manner fault

Is in this Falcon White.

In chastity,

Excelleth she,

Most like a virgin bright:

And worthy is 

To live in bliss

Always this Falcon White.

But now to take

And use her make

Is time, as troth is plight;

That she may bring

Fruit according

For such a Falcon White.

And where by wrong,

She hath fleen long,

Uncertain where to light;

Herself repose

Upon the Rose,

Now may this Falcon White.

Whereupon to rest,

And build her nest;

GOD grant her, most of might!

That England may

Rejoice alway

In this same Falcon White.”

It is quite easy to see that these lyrics praised Anne as a rightful queen.    They also used the falcon symbolism to express her role as mother of future kings, and how important that role was.   The lines speaking of her “reposing upon the Rose” were a reference to her new role as a Tudor!   The Tudor Rose was after all one of the most important emblems of the family.   In all this song both tells of her future duties and praises her bounty and ability.    There is a congratulatory feel to associating her with her new role as a Tudor wife and queen!

I hope that you have enjoyed learning about Anne Boleyn’s coronation song.    Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is a picture from Anne Boleyn’s coronation episode in The Tudors.   I found the image on

Further Reading