Why did the Red Rose became the symbol of England?
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Статья знакомит с основными фактами истории возникновения и становления национальной эмблемы Англии, красной розы. Материал статьи может быть использован для проведения уроков в 8 классе по теме ‘Great Britain’.
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Why did the red rose become the national symbol of England?
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland  consists of four parts. They are Scotland, Wales, England and Nothern Ireland. Each of them has its own flag, symbol and patron saint.But let’s speak about England and its symbol. The symbol of England is a red rose, the patron Saint is St. George. It is interesting to know about the origin of this symbol in details.
Once upon a time there were two dukes in Britain. The symbol of the first one was a red rose, of the second one was a white rose. They were at war for the throne of England. The winner was the duke whose symbol was a red rose. So, when he became the king he made this flower the symbol of the country.Do you know that this war is known as the Wars of the Roses in 1455-1485?  The name “Wars of the Roses” was not used during the time of the wars but it is associated with the two royal houses.The term came into common use in the nineteenth century, after the publication of Anne of Geierstein by Sir Walter Scott. But why did the war between these houses begin?
As we know from the history, the Hundred Years’ war, in which England lost practically all its lands in France, ended in 1453, but there was no peace in the country. Long before the end of this war, a feudal struggle had broken out between the descendants of Edward III. When the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, the Norman barons were united with the Saxon nobles and the growing bourgeoisie of the big towns, and they took part in governing the country. During the Hundred Years’ War some of the barons, who were professional soldiers, built castles with high walls and kept private armies over to France to seize lands there.These big barons formed a small group of their own.They thought more about their “family politics” than about national politics and were a real threat to the king’s power. Realizing the danger which these big barons represented to the Crown, Edward III tried to marry his sons to their daughters, the heiresses of these Houses. Thus representatives of the royal family became relatives of many big barons. But that did not help to strengthen the position of the House of Plantagenets. During the reign of Richard II (1377-1399), the last king of the Plantagenet dynasty, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, seized the crown and became the first king of the Lancaster dynasty, Henry IV (1399-1413). The interests of the House of Lancaster supported by the big barons collided with the interests of the lesser barons and merchants of the towns, who supported the House of York. The feudal struggle grew into an open war between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. The Lancasters had a red rose in their coat of arms, the Yorkists had a white rose. That’s why the war between them got the name of the War of the Roses. This war, which lasted for thirty years (1455-1485), turned into a bitter struggle for the Crown, in which each party murdered every likely heir to the throne of the opposite party. It was a dark time for England, a time of anarchy, when the kings and nobles were busy fighting and murdering each other and had no time to take care of the common people, who suffered greatly. The War of the Roses ended with the battle of Bosworth in 1485. King Richard III of the House of York was killed in the battle, and, right in the field, Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, was proclaimed King of England. The war was over at last, and everybody sighed with relief. Henry Tudor was a head of the House of Lancaster. A year later, in 1486, he married the Yorkist heiress Princess Elizabeth of York. They were the founders of the Tudor dynasty, which ruled the Kingdom from 1485 to 1603.This marriage was of great political importance. It meant the union of the red rose of the House of Lancaster with the white rose of the House of York. The war of the Roses is a very important period for the British culture and history. It has been a turning point in the history of the United Kingdom: a very large part of aristocracy was killed
(some noble families even disappeared) and the royal dynasty changed. It has also been a vast source of inspiration for English authors, such as William Shakespeare. He described this event in his play “Henry IV”:
Let him that is a true-born gentleman
And stands upon the honour of his birth,
If he suppose that I have pleaded truth,
From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.
Пускай же тот, кто истинный дворянин
И дорожит рождением своим,
Коль думает, что я стою за правду,
Сорвёт здесь розу белую со мной.
Let him that is no coward nor no flatterer,
But dare maintain the party of the truth,
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.
Пусть тот, кто трусости и лести чужд,
Но искренне стоять за правду хочет,
Со мною розу алую сорвёт.
With the close of the Wars of the Roses, we may recognize the complete ending of the Middle Ages in England, and the establishing of the "Renaissance," which begins Modern History. So, the Tudor rose, which takes its name from the Tudor dynasty, was adopted as a national emblem of England around the time of the Wars of the Roses as a symbol of peace. It is also known as the Rose of England. The design took the white rose of York as the center of the flower, and the red rose of Lancaster as the outside enging. The design symbolized unity and mutual regard. Nowadays, this rose is usually red and is used, for instance, in the emblems of the English Golf Union and England national rugby union team. Also the Tudor Rose emblem can be found on many old buildings in England.