While seemingly simple, the Tudor rose holds great significance, representing the unity and peace between some of England’s most powerful families, during a time of great conflict.
These series of conflicts, known as ‘The Wars of the Roses’ (1455-87) began due to Richard of York’s consistent interference with Henry VI’s rule and advisors.
Red Rose House of Lancaster
White Rose House of York
During the Wars of the Roses, the house of York, fought against the house of Lancaster. Eventually, Richard of York’s son Edward IV succeeded his father – who died in battle, and emerged victorious, against the house of Lancaster, thus was able to claim the throne. Eventually, Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth of York married Henry VII of the opposing Lancaster house, uniting the two families.
Tudor Rose Royally Crowned
The Tudor rose is the combination of the house of Lancaster - represented by a red rose, and the house of York- represented by a white rose. These families battled for decades in order to gain control of the English throne. Therefore, these flowers together represent unity and peace. The tudor rose, slipped and crowned, which is a version that shows the Tudor Rose as a cutting with a stem and leaves beneath a crown, since an Order in Council (5 November 1800), has served as the royal floral emblem of England.
Tudor Heraldry Rose Slipped
The Tudor rose was of great political use to Queen Elizabeth I; it was a symbol that was used to signify unity between England’s powerful houses and stability of the Tudor dynasty. Whether the emblem was embroidered into Elizabeth I’s clothing, carved onto Tudor ships, or even crafted into the stained-glass windows at cathedrals; this emblem was ever-present, and is still seen to this day.
Pelican Painting Nicholas Hilliard (c.1573)
The Tudor rose can be spotted in this famous portrait of Elizabeth I known as the ‘Pelican’ Portrait, by Nicholas Hilliard, where it is displayed clearly and openly on the top left of the painting.