Honi soit qui mal y pense

Honi soit qui mal y pense (UK: [ɒnɪ ˌswɑː kiː mal iː ˈpɒ̃s] or US: [ˌoʊni ˌswɑ ki ˌmɑl i ˈpɑ̃s]) is a Middle French maxim, meaning "shamed be whoever thinks bad of it", usually translated as "shame on anyone who thinks evil of it"[1] and used as the motto of the British chivalric Order of the Garter.[2] In current French usage, the phrase may be used ironically to insinuate the presence of a hidden agenda or a conflict of interest.[1]

The motto appears on a representation of the garter, surrounding the Shield of the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom.
The motto appears in a royal coat of arms of the 17th century on the ceiling of Bath Abbey.
Hand fan of Queen Victoria with motto
Motto on cannon at Fort Denison, Sydney

OriginEdit

There is a connection between the Order of the Garter and the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late 14th century). The motto is inscribed, as hony soyt qui mal pence, at the end of the text in the manuscript, albeit in a later hand.[3][4] In the poem, a girdle, very similar in its erotic undertones to the garter, plays a prominent role. A rough equivalent of the Order's motto has been identified in Gawain's exclamation corsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse boþe ("cursed be both cowardice and coveting", v. 2374).[5] While the author of that poem remains disputed, there seems to be a connection between two of the top candidates and the Order of the Garter, John of Gaunt, and Enguerrand de Coucy, seventh Sire de Coucy. De Coucy was married to King Edward III's daughter, Isabella, and was given admittance to the Order of the Garter on their wedding day."[6]

According to historian Elias Ashmole, the foundation of the Garter occurred when Edward III of England prepared for the Battle of Crécy and gave "forth his own garter as the signal".

According to Polydore Virgil's Anglica Historia, written in 1512–1513, 166 years after the event, the origin was a trivial mishap at a court function. King Edward III was dancing with Joan of Kent, his first cousin and daughter-in-law, at a ball held in Calais to celebrate the fall of the city after the Battle of Crécy.[7] Her garter slipped down to her ankle, causing those around her to laugh at her humiliation. Edward placed the garter around his own leg, saying: "Honi soit qui mal y pense. Tel qui s'en rit aujourd'hui, s'honorera de la porter."[8] ("Shame on anyone who thinks evil of it. Whoever is laughing at this [thing] today will later be proud to wear it."). For most scholars, this version is apocryphal, as there are no contemporary sources and garters were not worn by women at the time.[7]

According to David Nash Ford:

While Edward III may outwardly have professed the Order of the Garter to be a revival of the Round Table, it is probable that privately its formation was a move to gain support for his dubious claim to the French throne. The motto of the Order is a denunciation of those who think ill of some specific project, and not a mere pious invocation of evil upon evil-thinkers in general. "Shame be to him who thinks ill of it" was probably directed against anyone who should oppose the King's design on the French Crown.[9]

Heraldic useEdit

 
Arms of John of Gaunt include the garter and the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense. Picture from a 16th-century depiction

In English heraldry, the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense is used either as a stand-alone motto upon a motto scroll, or upon a circular representation of the Garter. Knights and Ladies of the Garter are entitled to encircle the escutcheon of their arms with the garter and motto (e.g. The 1st Duke of Marlborough).[10][11][12] The latter usage can also be seen in the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, with the motto of the royal arms, Dieu et mon droit, being displayed on a scroll beneath the shield. As part of the royal arms, the motto is displayed in many public buildings in Britain and colonial era public buildings in various parts of the Commonwealth (such as all Courts of England and Wales). The royal arms (and motto) appear on many British government official documents (e.g. the front of current British passports); on packaging and stationery of companies operating under Royal Warrant (e.g. the banner of The Times, which uses the royal coat of arms of Great Britain circa 1714 to 1800;[13] and are used by other entities so distinguished by the British monarch (e.g. as the official emblem of the Royal Yacht Britannia).[14]

Several military organisations in the Commonwealth incorporate the motto inscribed upon a garter of the order within their badges (or cyphers) and some use Honi soit qui mal y pense as their motto. Corps and regiments using the motto in this fashion are ('*' indicates usage as a motto in addition to inclusion in the badge):

Other usesEdit

 
Motto on a cannon of Edward VII on Elephanta Island, India

In popular cultureEdit

In the last episode of Series 3 of BBC mockumentary The Thick of It, it is revealed that one of spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker's catchphrases is "Honi soit qui Malky fuck".

In the 2018 episode of Doctor Who, "The Witchfinders", the Doctor notes that it is the motto on the garter of King James.

In the M*A*S*H episode "In Love and War", Pierce, during a conversation with Korean national Kyung Soon, mistakenly attributes that quote to François de La Rochefoucauld.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Honi soit qui mal y pense - French expressions analyzed and explained". About Education. About.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  2. ^ It is sometimes translated with masculine gendering: as in "May he be shamed who thinks badly of it" ("honi soit qui mal y pense, n". OED Online. Oxford University Press. December 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2015.) However, although grammatically honi (in today's French honni) is masculine, conventionally masculine is the default gender to use when talking about someone whose gender is unknown or unspecified, so that technically females are not excluded from the application of the phrase. Honni and the feminine form honnie sound exactly the same; likewise tel (feminine, telle) below.
  3. ^ Cotton Nero A.x 128v
  4. ^ Waldron, Ronald Alan, ed. (1970). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-8101-0328-3. OCLC 135649.
  5. ^ Friedman, Albert B.; Osberg, Richard H. (1997). "Gawain's Girdle as Traditional Symbol". The Journal of American Folklore. American Folklore Society. 90 (157): 301–315. doi:10.2307/539521. JSTOR 539521.
  6. ^ Savage, Henry L. (1938). "Sir Gawain and the Order of the Garter". ELH. The Johns Hopkins University Press. 5 (2): 146–149. doi:10.2307/2871614. JSTOR 2871614.
  7. ^ a b Lawne, Penny (2015). Joan of Kent: The First Princess of Wales. Amberley Publishing Limited. p. 161–162. ISBN 9781445644714. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Windsor - Preparez votre séjour!". londres-week-end.com. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Berkshire History: The Order of the Garter". www.berkshirehistory.com. 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  10. ^ Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1996). "XXXVI Official Heraldic Insignia". Complete Guide to Heraldry (1996 ed.). Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions. pp. 583–84. ISBN 1-85326-365-6. A Knight of the Garter has: (1) His Garter to encircle the shield ...
  11. ^ An example of the full heraldic blazon description is provided in "Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: The Royal Regiment of Canada". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012. [A] garter Azure fimbriated buckled and inscribed HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE in letters Or (A blue garter with gold edges, gold buckle and inscription HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE in gold letters.) However, simplified blazons are also used.
  12. ^ Robson, Thomas (1830). The British Herald, or Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility & Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume I. Sunderland: Turner & Marwood. p. 401 (CHU-CLA).
  13. ^ "Scissors for Lefty review in The Times". Scissors for Lefty website. Scissors for Lefty. 5 January 2007. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 20 Jun 2012. Banner image for The Times;
  14. ^ "Coats of Arms". Official Website of the British Monarchy. The Royal Household (2008-09). Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Artillery Heritage". Southern Gunners website. Royal New Zealand Artillery Association. 25 December 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  16. ^ Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (2006). Discovering British Military Badges and Buttons (Third ed.). Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire: Shire Books. p. 25. ISBN 0-7478-0484-2.
  17. ^ a b c "Welcome". Presenting the Household Cavalry Regiment ... Everything You Wanted to Know! website. Peter J Ashman. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  18. ^ "The Grenadier Guards". The Grenadier Guards website. The Grenadier Guards. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  20. ^ "Royal Regiment of Fusiliers – Regimental History". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  21. ^ "Corps of Royal Engineers Badges and Emblems". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  22. ^ "Royal Logistic Corps". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  23. ^ "Royal Army Service Corps & Royal Corps of Transport Association". RASC & RCT Association website. RASC & RCT Association. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  24. ^ "Who we are – The Royal Australian Engineers". The Australian Army website. The Australian Army. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  25. ^ "Royal Australian Army Service Corps". Digger History website. Digger History. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  26. ^ "Who we are – The Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps". The Australian Army website. The Australian Army. Archived from the original on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  27. ^ Personnel, Government of Canada, National Defence, Chief Military. "Armour, Artillery and Field Engineer Regiments - ARMOUR REGIMENTS - THE GOVERNOR GENERAL'S HORSE GUARDS". www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  28. ^ "Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: The Royal Regiment of Canada". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  29. ^ "Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: The Royal Montreal Regiment". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  30. ^ Army, Government of Canada, National Defence, Canadian. "1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery -1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Unit- Canadian Army". forces.gc.ca. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  31. ^ "Sixth Hauraki Battalion Group". New Zealand Army Reserve Website. New Zealand Army. 10 June 2009. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  32. ^ "200 invalid-request". www.kings.lincs.sch.uk.
  33. ^ "fatefulvoyage.com". fatefulvoyage.com. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  34. ^ "Source code for the Apollo 13 lunar module's guidance computer". Ibiblio.org. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  35. ^ rightnowORneverever (26 January 2011). "John Cale "Honi Soit (Le Première Leçon de Français)"". Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-02-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  37. ^ http://www.storyvilledistrictnola.com/bluebook_gallery.html
  38. ^ "chrislgarry/Apollo-11". github.com. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  39. ^ http://www.onmjfootsteps.com/archives/2014/04/05/29587330.html
  40. ^ https://fhgclub.wildapricot.org/