The song was one of those written for the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and was performed during her progress through the streets of London on 31st May 1533. It has just had what was almost certainly its first performance for some 480 years, as part of Clio’s Company’s contribution to the 2013 Lord Mayor’s Show.
When Clio’s Company was chosen to receive funding to take part in the Show, we decided to base our presence on the coronation of Anne Boleyn. This was because one of the programmes in our flagship arts in education project, in partnership with All Hallows by the Tower, focuses on the weeks in the spring of 1533 when Henry VIII’s second marriage was London’s hottest, and most controversial, rumour. Had the king really married again without waiting for the Pope’s agreement that the marriage to Catherine of Aragon had never really been valid? Now we had the opportunity to research what happened just a few weeks later, and were delighted to discover the wealth of surviving material. The lyrics of “The White Falcon” appear in a volume of “Tudor Tracts” transcribed and published by A F Pollard in 1903 – the original manuscript is in the Royal Collection.
The White Falcon – A Song from Anne Boleyn’s Coronation, edited by Tamsin Lewis, with an introduction by Lissa Chapman and Jay Venn, published by Rondo Publishing.