An embroidery featuring Anne Boleyn's first motto ainsi sera groigne qui groigneAnne Boleyn used the motto “The Most Happy”, or “La Plus Heureuse”, when she became queen, but did you know that it wasn’t the only motto Anne used?

Another motto that Anne used was “Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne”, which translates to “Let them grumble, that is how it is going to be”. Anne made use of this motto for a few weeks in around late 1529/early 1530 during the Great Matter, Henry VIII’s quest for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. He was courting Anne at the time. Anne had the motto embroidered on her servants’ livery and, as historian Eric Ives pointed out in his biography of Anne, the motto was a play on the imperial motto “Groigne qui groigne et vive Bourgogne!”, or “Grudge who Grudges, Long Live Burgundy!”, a motto that Anne would have been familiar with from her time at Margaret of Austria’s court.

Anne may only have used to for a few weeks, but a piece of embroidery featuring the motto has survived. The piece, which is thought to have been a cupboard cloth, has an oval design with the motto displayed in its border. As you can see, the image in the middle is of Anne Boleyn’s white falcon pecking at a pomegranate, the symbol of Catherine of Aragon, who was, of course, opposing the annulment of her marriage and preventing Henry VIII from marrying Anne! The falcon is also perched on a stock, or tree stump, a Plantagenet badge, from which red and white roses spring, symbolising Anne bringing fertility to Henry VIII’s previously barren stock.

The motto and the accompanying image give us insight into how Anne Boleyn was feeling at the time, her frustration at the situation, her impatience, her defiance at those who were painting her as a usurper and wh*re, and clearly her anger towards Catherine of Aragon.

Anne may have dropped the motto, and the falcon pecking the pomegranate, but she did use the falcon and tree stump in her royal badge when she became queen:
Anne Boleyn's falcon badge

I actually have a tattoo of Anne Boleyn’s “ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne” motto and I explain why in this video:

Notes and Sources

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3 thoughts on “#WednesdayFact – “The Most Happy” wasn’t Anne Boleyn’s only motto”
  1. Fantastic Lecture on Anne’s first motto! I didn’t know about it. Also, love the Tattoo! Always look forward to hearing and reading your information on Anne Boleyn and all things Tudor! Thank you Claire!

  2. Haha, Anne didn’t give a toss about what people thought and said about her, this motto sums it up perfectly what her attitude was towards her detractors.

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