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Badges and Mottos of Henry VIII’s six wives

Heraldic badges are distinctive to a person or family, similar to the arms and the crest. But unlike them, the badge is not an integral component of a coat of arms, although they can be displayed alongside them. Badges are in fact complete and independent and can be displayed alone. Furthermore, unlike the arms and crest, which are personal devices that could only be displayed by the owner, the badge could be easily borne by others, in the form of a cognizance or livery badge, to be worn by retainers and adherents. Badges are displayed on standards and personal objects, as well as on private and public buildings to show ownership or patronage


Catherine of Aragon
(16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536)
Henry’s first wife

Humble and Loyal

Badge Symbol:
A crowned pomegranate

Heraldic Meaning:
Pomegranate: Fertility and abundanc

The pomegranate: Is an ancient symbol for fertility and regeneration and in the Christian church is a sign of Christ’s resurrection. It would have been seen as a very apt symbol for Catherine and the promise of heirs that her marriage brought.

The crown: Is an emblem of victory and sovereignty. Its significance as the decoration is the ultimate level of rank and power.

Before her marriage to Henry, as Princess of Wales and wife of Arthur Tudor her motto was

“Not For My Crown”

Anne Boleyn
(1501/1507 – 19 May 1536)
Henry’s second wife.

The Most Happy

Symbols: Crowned falcon holding a sceptre on a tree stump with red and white flowers sprouting.

The white falcon was derived from the heraldic crest of the Earls of Ormonde as her father had been recognized as the heir.

Heraldic Meanings:
Falcon/Hawk: Denotes one who was fond of the highest pursuits. Hunting and Falconry were such pursuits in the days of Heraldry. 

The Falcon denotes someone eager, or hot in the pursuit of an object much desired. One who does not rest until objective achieved.

The Tree Stump: The tree stump or “woodstock” is a centuries-old royal badge it referred to Henry VIII’s right to the throne, but that this combined with the falcon landing on it and roses bursting forth spoke clearly of life bursting forth “from the barrenness of the Tudor stock.

The roses on Anne Boleyn’s badge are not the Tudor rose but rather the red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York this is also referring to Henry VIII’s right to the throne of England, through his father Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond (a Lancastrian), and his mother Elizabeth of York, they brought the claims of the Lancastrian and Yorkists together.

The crown: An imperial crown rather than a monarch’s crown. The Sceptre: It not only refers to Henry and Anne being king and queen, but is also a symbol of God-given authority.

Jane Seymour
(1508 – 24 October 1537)
Henry’s third wife.

Bound to Obey and Serve

Symbols: Crowned phoenix rising from a Castle, between two red and white Roses.

Heraldic Meanings:
Phoenix: Resurrection. The phoenix is a symbol of immortality, rebirth and renewal. The end of an era and the beginning of a new one.

Castle: The emblem of grandeur and society. The castle signifies power and vigilance on the watch as well as home and safety.

The Crown: An imperial crown rather than a monarch’s crown.

The Sprouting Roses: Mean bringing children into the home.

Anne of Cleves
(22 September 1515 – 16 July 1557)
Henry’s fourth wife

God Send Me Well to Keep

Symbol: A gold escarbuncle

Heraldic meanings:
The escarbuncle is a symbol of supremacy and it is an interesting example of a charge developed by the evolution of the shield itself.
In ancient warfare iron bands stemming from the center and radiating outwards were used to strengthen the shield for better protection in battle. This represents a strong person

The Crown: Anne was from the royal German house of La Marck

Catherine Howard
(1521 – 13 February 1542)
Henry’s fifth wife

No Other Will than His

Symbol: Crowned union white and red rose without a thorn.

Heraldic meanings:
This is the same as Henrys except without a thorn. (Henry called Katherine his blushing rose without a thorn.) The red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York together make the Tudor rose.

Catherine Parr
(1512 – 5 September 1548)
Henry’s sixth wife

To be Useful in all that I do

Symbol: A Maidens Head Crowned rising from a large Tudor Rose

Heraldic Meaning:
Catherine used her patron saint, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, as inspiration for her badge. The maidenhead had long been associated with the Parr family. Maidens in heraldry denote purity, redemption, virtuousness and justice.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Clara

    “Granada” means pomegranate in Spanish. For this reason, a pomegranate was included in the coat of arms of Spain since 1492 by the Catholic Monarchs, Catherine’s parents. They also used the pomegranate to create the coat of arms for the city.
    However, the pomegranate had been used before by many members of Isabel’s family in their personal badge (her father, mother and brother King Enrique). The Catholic Monarchs gave a jewel of gold and ruby, representing a pomegranate, as a gift to Emperor Maximilian on occasion of the marriage of Philip and Joana. He liked it so much that used the pomegranate since then in his personal badge and was painted with it in the famous portrait by Dürer.

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