Anne Boleyn & Singing of the Te Deum

The praising hymn Te Deum is traditionally used by English Monarchs to give thanks to God at moments of national celebration.

There would have been many times in Anne Boleyn’s lifetime when she would have witnessed the singing of a Te Deum. Some of these occasions were actually in her honour as the Te Deum was sung to celebrate births, marriages, coronations, safe return of monarchs and even to give thanks for great victories. For example after achieving victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, Henry V asked his relieved but beleaguered soldiers to sing it in thanks for their deliverance.

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Westminster Abbey (Image VisitLondon.com)

The most notable of these performances for Anne would have been at her magnificent coronation on Sunday 1st of June 1533 inside Westminster Abbey. After being anointed and crowned Anne sat in St Edward’s Chair to have the Te Deum sung in her honour.

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A further occasion specific to Anne was the birth of her daughter Princess Elizabeth on 7 September 1533. Both the Chapel Royal at Greenwich and St Paul’s Cathedral sung the praising hymn on the arrival of Henry VIII’s first legitimate heir.

However what exactly is a Te Deum and where did it come from?

 

Below is an extract from Treasury of Latin prayers in explanation of origins of the praising hymn…

‘Te Deum, also sometimes called the Ambrosian Hymn because of its association with St. Ambrose, is a traditional hymn of joy and thanksgiving. First attributed to Saints. Ambrose, Augustine, or Hilary, it is now accredited to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (4th century).’

The verses are split into three sections. As the direct translation from Latin to English suggested, Te Deum Laudamus or We praise thee, Oh God the first section praises God. It moves on in the second section to passages dealing with Christ’s teaching from the New Testament and section three concludes with the praise of Christ.

For a full translation see http://www.preceslatinae.org/thesaurus/Trinitas/TeDeum.html

If you would like to hear a recital of a Te Deum sung by the Westminster Abbey Choir in 2015 please click. https://youtu.be/ugCxKh-RwaY

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