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Article: Why Was It Called The War Of The Roses?

Why Was It Called The War Of The Roses? - Jednay Roses

Why Was It Called The War Of The Roses?

The rose has an incredible significance to many of our lives, with a considerable number of beliefs, concepts, affiliations and pure emotions assigned to it.

Whilst love is the most popular of these, and part of the reason why eternal roses signifying undying love is such a powerful symbol.

By contrast, one of the most famous wars in English history would also involve prominently involve roses to the point that the most popular name for it is simply the War of the Roses.

The Tudor Rose, with red and white petals, derived from this. However, the symbolism and its origins were somewhat complex and go back to the tradition of royal badges, a form of simple heraldic symbol used to represent royal families and supporters.

King Edward I used a golden rose in 1272, and it was used again by Edward III in 1327 until his death caused a constitutional crisis that through a complex series of events led to two rival lineages claiming the throne of England.

There was the House of York, represented by the white rose and King Richard III, and the House of Lancaster, represented by the red rose and Henry Tudor.

Contrary to later representations of the 30-year War of the Roses in history, the two armies did not fight under the banner of each rose. Instead, the “Red Roses” fought under the red dragon, the symbol of Henry’s Welsh homeland, whilst the “White Roses” fought most commonly under the symbol of the white boar, although Richard III himself did use the White Rose.

Henry did not adopt the Red Rose until he won at the Battle of Bosworth Field, taking the symbol and later combining it with his wife Elizabeth of York’s White Rose badge to form the Tudor Rose.

At the time, the War of the Roses was simply known as the “Civil Wars” and primarily got the more poetic name as the result of William Shakespeare’s play Henry VI Part 1, which featured a scene where several noblemen pick a white or red rose to symbolise their loyalty to one side of the conflict or another.

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