After Queen Anne Boleyn’s downfall in May 1536 King Henry VIII tried to have all trace of her existence removed from his court. He ordered carpenters and stonemasons to destroy every trace of her from his palaces. Although in the main this royal order was carried out there are two examples left at Hampton Court Palace that give us a glimpse into the symbolism that was often used in the Tudor Court.
The motif carved on the wooden panel above is in the great hall at Hampton Court Palace. It is a lover’s knot bearing the couples’ intials entwined with honeysuckle. Between 1533 and 1536 these emblems were scattered all over Hampton Court Palace and other royal residences.
The other example is Anne’s falcon badge, which was part of the masonry also at Hampton Court Palace. The white falcon was associated with the Boleyn family before Anne’s marriage to the King, but the additions made after Anne’s coronation were symbolic. The falcon was given a crown and a spectre to symbolise Anne’s elevation to Queenship. More personal to Henry and Anne was the fact that the falcon now stood on a barren tree stump which alluded to Katherine of Aragon’s failure to produce an heir to the throne. Another reference to fertility were the flowers surrounding the falcon. This was a way of publicly declaring that the children Anne bore the King would secure the Tudor dynasty.
So even after 481 years it is still possbile to see evidence of Queen Anne’s brief reign as Queen of England.
Pictures (C) G Hulme