by Imperial Candles

With the Royal Wedding fast approaching, we thought it’s the perfect opportunity to get in the spirit of love and find out what it really means to ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’.

Of course, history wouldn’t be complete without 187643518364 different versions of the story (yes, we know you didn’t read that number).

One thing we can all agree on, however, is the meaning of the phrase: to openly show your emotions and feelings.

So, without further ado, we cordially invite you to read the 3 most popular theories.

*Cue drumroll please*

1. Emperor Claudius

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, marriage was declared illegal. He believed that unattended men made better soldiers and encouraged temporary coupling. During the annual festival, men picked names from a jar to determine their ‘lady friend’ for the event. Once drawn, the men would celebrate their success by writing the lady’s name on their sleeve.

2. Jousting Matches

It’s also believed that during the Middle Ages, knights would dedicate their jousting performance to their lady. A handkerchief would be tied around their arm in the woman’s colours, metaphorically wearing their heart on their sleeve.

3. Shakespeare

Speculation aside, one thing’s for sure. The phrase was first recorded in writing in Shakespeare’s play – Othello, 1604.


For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at: I am not what I am.

Feeling the love? Why not take some inspiration from history and affix your beautiful darling’s name to your arm. Or better yet, just buy them a candle instead.

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