Tudor rose

Last updated

The Tudor rose is a combination of the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York. Tudor Rose.svg
The Tudor rose is a combination of the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York.

The Tudor rose (sometimes called the Union rose) is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England and takes its name and origins from the House of Tudor, which united the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The Tudor rose consists of five white inner petals, representing the House of York, and five red outer petals to represent the House of Lancaster.



Tudor Rose, royally crowned.svg
Tudor double rose royally crowned.
Tudor Rose (Tudor Heraldry).svg
Tudor double rose slipped and crowned.

In the Battle of Bosworth Field (1485), Henry VII, of the House of Lancaster, took the crown of England from Richard III, of the House of York. He thus brought to an end the retrospectively dubbed "Wars of the Roses". Kings of the House of Lancaster had sometimes used a red or gold rose as a badge; and the House of York had used a white rose as a badge. Henry's father was Edmund Tudor, and his mother was Margaret Beaufort from the House of Lancaster; in January 1486 he married Elizabeth of York to bring the two factions together. (In battle, Richard III fought under the banner of the boar, [1] and Henry under the banner of the dragon of his native Wales.) The white rose versus red rose juxtaposition was mostly Henry's invention, created to exploit his appeal as a 'peacemaker king'. [2] The historian Thomas Penn writes:

The "Lancastrian" red rose was an emblem that barely existed before Henry VII. Lancastrian kings used the rose sporadically, but when they did it was often gold rather than red; Henry VI, the king who presided over the country's descent into civil war, preferred his badge of the antelope. Contemparies certainly did not refer to the traumatic civil conflict of the 15th century as the "Wars of the Roses". For the best part of a quarter-century, from 1461 to 1485, there was only one royal rose, and it was white: the badge of Edward IV. The roses were actually created after the war by Henry VII. [2]

On his marriage, Henry VII adopted the Tudor rose badge conjoining the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster. The Tudor rose is occasionally seen divided in quarters (heraldically as "quartered") and vertically (in heraldic terms per pale) red and white. [3] More often, the Tudor rose is depicted as a double rose, [4] white on red and is always described, heraldically, as "proper" (that is, naturally-coloured, despite not actually existing in nature).

16th-century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon showing them with their respective badges: the Tudor rose and the Spanish pomegranate Henry VIII Catherine of Aragon coronation woodcut.jpg
16th-century woodcut of the coronation of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon showing them with their respective badges: the Tudor rose and the Spanish pomegranate
Dimidiated Rose and Pomegranate Badge of Henry VIII.svg
Tudor rose dimidiated with the Spanish pomegranate.
Union of the Crowns Royal Badge.svg
Tudor rose, dimidiated with the thistle, crowned.
Tudor rose (upper left) slipped and crowned from the Pelican Portrait of Elizabeth I. Elizabeth1.jpg
Tudor rose (upper left) slipped and crowned from the Pelican Portrait of Elizabeth I.

Historical uses

Henry VII was reserved in his usage of the Tudor rose. He regularly used the Lancastrian rose by itself, being the house to which he descended. His successor Henry VIII, descended from the House of York as well through his mother, would use the rose more often. [5]

When Arthur, Prince of Wales, died in 1502, his tomb in Worcester Cathedral used both roses; thereby asserting his royal descent from both the houses of Lancaster and York. [5]

During his reign, Henry VIII had the legendary "Round Table" at Winchester Castle – then believed to be genuine – repainted. [6] The new paint scheme included a Tudor rose in the centre. Previous to this, his father Henry VII had built the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey (it was later used for the site of his tomb) and it was decorated principally with the Tudor rose and the Beaufort portcullis – as a form of propaganda to define his claim to the throne.

The Tudor rose badge may appear slipped and crowned: shown as a cutting with a stem and leaves beneath a crown; this badge appears in Nicholas Hilliard's "Pelican Portrait" of Elizabeth I and since an Order in Council (dated 5 November 1800), has served as the royal floral emblem of England.

The Tudor rose may also appear dimidiated (cut in half and combined with half another emblem) to form a compound badge. The Westminster Tournament Roll includes a badge of Henry and his first wife Catherine of Aragon with a slipped Tudor rose conjoined with Catherine's personal badge, the Spanish pomegranate; [7] their daughter Mary I bore the same badge. [8] Following his ascent to the English throne, James VI of Scotland and I of England used a badge consisting of a Tudor rose dimidiated with a Scottish thistle and surmounted by a royal crown. [9]

Contemporary uses

The crowned and slipped Tudor rose is used as the plant badge of England, as Scotland uses the thistle, Wales uses the leek, and Ireland uses the shamrock (Northern Ireland sometimes using flax instead). As such, it is seen on the dress uniforms of the Yeomen Warders at the Tower of London, and of the Yeomen of the Guard. It features in the design of the 20-pence coin minted between 1982 and 2008, and in the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. It also features on the coat of arms of Canada.

As part of the badge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the Tudor rose represents England alongside the floral badges of the other constituent parts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The heraldic badge of the Royal Navy's current flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth uses a Tudor rose with colours divided vertically (per pale), inheriting the heraldry of the early twentieth century super-dreadnought oil-fired fast battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth. The Tudor rose makes up part of the cap badge of the Intelligence Corps of the British Army. The Tudor rose is used as the emblem of The Nautical Training Corps, a uniformed youth organisation founded in Brighton in 1944 with 20 units in South East England. The corps badge has the Tudor Rose on the shank of an anchor with the motto "For God, Queen and Country". It is also used as part of the Corps' cap badge.

The Tudor rose is also prominent in a number of towns and cities. The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, uses the emblem frequently, due to the town being given Royal Town status by Henry VIII. The Tudor rose appears on the coat of arms of Oxford. It is also notably used (albeit in a monochromatic form) as the symbol of VisitEngland, England's tourist board. [10] A half-and-half design was used as the "Border Rose" in some parts of Todmorden, a conurbation that was historically bisected by the Yorkshire-Lancashire border. [11]

The borough and county of Queens in New York City uses a Tudor rose on its flag and seal. [12] The flag and seal of Annapolis, Maryland, features a Tudor rose and a thistle surmounted with a crown. The city of York, South Carolina is nicknamed "The White Rose City", and the nearby city of Lancaster, South Carolina is nicknamed "The Red Rose City". York, Pennsylvania and Lancaster, Pennsylvania are similarly nicknamed, using stylized white and red roses in their emblems, respectively.

See also


  1. "boar". concise.britannica.com. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2007. In Europe the boar is one of the four heraldic beasts of the chase and was the distinguishing mark of Richard III, king of England.
  2. 1 2 Penn, Thomas. "How Henry VII branded the Tudors", The Guardian , 2 March 2012
  3. Wise, p. 22
  4. Fox-Davies, The Complete Guide to Heraldry, p. 270
  5. 1 2 Ryrie, Alec (2017). The Age of Reformation: the Tudor and Stewart Realms, 1485-1603. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. p. 47.
  6. Starkey, p. 41
  7. Fox-Davies (1909), p. 276
  8. Boutell, p. 229
  9. Fox-Davies (1907), p. 117.
  10. rradmin (26 March 2018). "Home". VisitEngland. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  11. Himelfield, Dave (11 June 2022). "Small town 'stuck in the middle' between Yorkshire and Lancashire". YorkshireLive.
  12. Levine, Alexandra S. (14 June 2017). "New York Today: Decoding Our Borough Flags". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 18 April 2019.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of Tudor</span> English royal house of Welsh origin

The House of Tudor was an English and Welsh dynasty that held the throne of England from 1485 to 1603. They descended from the Tudors of Penmynydd, a Welsh noble family, and Catherine of Valois. The Tudor monarchs ruled the Kingdom of England and the Lordship of Ireland for 118 years with five monarchs: Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The Tudors succeeded the House of Plantagenet as rulers of the Kingdom of England, and were succeeded by the House of Stuart. The first Tudor monarch, Henry VII, descended through his mother from the House of Beaufort, a legitimised branch of the English royal House of Lancaster, a cadet house of the Plantagenets. The Tudor family rose to power and started the Tudor period in the wake of the Wars of the Roses (1455–1487), which left the main House of Lancaster extinct in the male line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of Lancaster</span> Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet

The House of Lancaster was a cadet branch of the royal House of Plantagenet. The first house was created when King Henry III of England created the Earldom of Lancaster—from which the house was named—for his second son Edmund Crouchback in 1267. Edmund had already been created Earl of Leicester in 1265 and was granted the lands and privileges of Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, after de Montfort's death and attainder at the end of the Second Barons' War. When Edmund's son Thomas, 2nd Earl of Lancaster, inherited his father-in-law's estates and title of Earl of Lincoln he became at a stroke the most powerful nobleman in England, with lands throughout the kingdom and the ability to raise vast private armies to wield power at national and local levels. This brought him—and Henry, his younger brother—into conflict with their cousin King Edward II, leading to Thomas's execution. Henry inherited Thomas's titles and he and his son, who was also called Henry, gave loyal service to Edward's son King Edward III.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of York</span> Cadet branch of the House of Plantagenet

The House of York was a cadet branch of the English royal House of Plantagenet. Three of its members became kings of England in the late 15th century. The House of York descended in the male line from Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth surviving son of Edward III. In time, it also represented Edward III's senior line, when an heir of York married the heiress-descendant of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Edward III's second surviving son. It is based on these descents that they claimed the English crown. Compared with its rival, the House of Lancaster, it had a superior claim to the throne of England according to cognatic primogeniture, but an inferior claim according to agnatic primogeniture. The reign of this dynasty ended with the death of Richard III of England at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. It became extinct in the male line with the death of Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick, in 1499.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yeomen of the Guard</span> Military unit

The King's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard is a bodyguard of the British monarch. The oldest British military corps still in existence, it was created by King Henry VII in 1485 after the Battle of Bosworth Field.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coat of arms of England</span> National arms of England

The coat of arms of England is the coat of arms historically used as arms of dominion by the monarchs of the Kingdom of England, and now used to symbolise England generally, but not officially. The arms were adopted c.1200 by the Plantagenet kings and continued to be used by successive English and British monarchs; they are currently quartered with the arms of Scotland and Ireland in the coat of arms of the United Kingdom. Historically they were also quartered with the arms of France, representing the English claim to the French throne, and Hanover.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">White Rose of York</span> Heraldric symbol of the House of York and Yorkshire

The White Rose of York is a white heraldic rose which was adopted in the 14th century as a heraldic badge of the royal House of York. In modern times, it is used more broadly as a symbol of Yorkshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Rose of Lancaster</span> Heraldic device used by the county and House of Lancaster

The Red Rose of Lancaster was the heraldic badge adopted by the royal House of Lancaster in the 14th century. In modern times it symbolises the county of Lancashire. The exact species or cultivar which it represents is thought to be Rosa gallica officinalis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heraldic badge</span> Heraldic badges

A heraldic badge, emblem, impresa, device, or personal device worn as a badge indicates allegiance to, or the property of, an individual, family or corporate body. Medieval forms are usually called a livery badge, and also a cognizance. They are para-heraldic, not necessarily using elements from the coat of arms of the person or family they represent, though many do, often taking the crest or supporters. Their use is more flexible than that of arms proper.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coat of arms of Ireland</span>

The coat of arms of Ireland is blazoned as Azure a harp Or, stringed Argent. These arms have long been Ireland's heraldic emblem. References to them as being the arms of the king of Ireland can be found as early as the 13th century. These arms were adopted by Henry VIII of England when he ended the period of Lordship of Ireland and declared Ireland to be a kingdom again in 1541. When the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland were united in 1603, they were integrated into the unified royal coat of arms of kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. The harp was adopted as the emblem of the Irish Free State when it separated from the United Kingdom in 1922. They were registered as the arms of Ireland with the Chief Herald of Ireland on 9 November 1945.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Queen's Beasts</span> Heraldic sculptures by James Woodford

The Queen's Beasts are ten heraldic statues representing the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II, depicted as the Royal supporters of England. They stood in front of the temporary western annexe to Westminster Abbey for the Queen's coronation in 1953. Each of the Queen's Beasts consists of a heraldic beast supporting a shield bearing a badge or arms of a family associated with the ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II. They were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works from the sculptor James Woodford, who was paid the sum of £2,750 for the work. They were uncoloured except for their shields at the coronation. They are now on display in the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Badge of Wales</span> Badge of Wales

A Royal Badge for Wales was approved in May 2008. It is based on the arms borne by the thirteenth-century Welsh prince Llywelyn the Great, with the addition of St Edward's Crown atop a continuous scroll which, together with a wreath consisting of the plant emblems of the four countries of the United Kingdom, surrounds the shield. The motto which appears on the scroll, PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD, is taken from the National Anthem of Wales and is also found on the Welsh designs for £1 coins minted from 1985 until 2000. The badge formerly appeared on the covers of Assembly Measures; since the 2011 referendum, it now appears on the cover of Acts passed by the Senedd and its escutcheon, ribbon and motto are depicted on the Welsh Seal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Livery collar</span>

A livery collar or chain of office is a collar or heavy chain, usually of gold, worn as insignia of office or a mark of fealty or other association in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Richmond Herald</span> Officer of the College of Arms

Richmond Herald of Arms in Ordinary is an officer of arms of the College of Arms in England. From 1421 to 1485, Richmond was a herald to John, Duke of Bedford, George, Duke of Clarence, and Henry, Earl of Richmond, all of whom held the Honour (estate) of Richmond. However, on the accession of Henry as Henry VII of England in 1485, Richmond became a king of arms and remained so until 1510, when the office became that of a herald in ordinary of the Crown. The badge of office is a red rose of Lancaster dimidiating the white rose en soleil of York, ensigned by the royal crown. Although this device has all the characteristics of a Tudor invention, it is likely to be of fairly recent derivation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">House of Beaufort</span> English noble family and quasi-royal family

The House of Beaufort is an English noble and quasi-royal family which originated in the fourteenth century as the legitimated issue of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster by Katherine Swynford. Gaunt and Swynford had four children: John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset (1373–1410); Cardinal Henry Beaufort, (1375–1447), Bishop of Winchester; Thomas Beaufort, 1st Duke of Exeter (1377–1426) and Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland (1379–1440). When Gaunt finally married Swynford as his third wife in 1396, the Beauforts were legitimized by Pope Boniface IX and by royal proclamation of the reigning monarch King Richard II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rose (heraldry)</span> Heraldic symbol

The rose is a common device in heraldry. It is often used both as a charge on a coat of arms and by itself as an heraldic badge. The heraldic rose has a stylized form consisting of five symmetrical lobes, five barbs, and a circular seed. The rose is one of the most common plant symbols in heraldry, together with the lily, which also has a stylistic representation in the fleur-de-lis.

<i>White Greyhound of Richmond</i> The Queens Beasts sculpture

The White Greyhound of Richmond is one of the Queen's Beasts commissioned for display at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. A stone copy can also be found in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal standards of England</span> English heraldic flags used in battles and pageantry

The royal standards of England were narrow, tapering swallow-tailed heraldic flags, of considerable length, used mainly for mustering troops in battle, in pageants and at funerals, by the monarchs of England. In high favour during the Tudor period, the Royal English Standard was a flag that was of a separate design and purpose to the Royal Banner. It featured St George's Cross at its head, followed by a number of heraldic devices, a supporter, badges or crests, with a motto—but it did not bear a coat of arms. The Royal Standard changed its composition frequently from reign to reign, but retained the motto Dieu et mon droit, meaning God and my right; which was divided into two bands: Dieu et mon and Droyt.

Heraldic labels are used to differentiate the personal coats of arms of members of the royal family of the United Kingdom from that of the monarch and from each other. In the Gallo-British heraldic tradition, cadency marks have been available to "difference" the arms of a son from those of his father, and the arms of brothers from each other, and traditionally this was often done when it was considered important for each man to have a distinctive individual coat of arms and/or to differentiate the arms of the head of a house from junior members of the family. This was especially important in the case of arms of sovereignty: to use the undifferenced arms of a kingdom is to assert a claim to the throne. Therefore, in the English royal family, cadency marks were used from the time of Henry III, typically a label or bordure alluding to the arms of the bearer's mother or wife. After about 1340, when Edward III made a claim to the throne of France, a blue label did not contrast sufficiently with the blue field of the French quarter of the royal arms; accordingly most royal cadets used labels argent: that of the heir apparent was plain, and all others were charged. Bordures of various tinctures continued to be used into the 15th century.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wars of the Roses</span> Dynastic civil war in England (1455–1487)

The Wars of the Roses (1455–1487), known at the time and for more than a century after as the Civil Wars, was a series of civil wars fought over control of the English throne in the mid-to-late fifteenth century. These wars were fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: Lancaster and York. The wars extinguished the last male line of the House of Lancaster in 1471, leading to the Tudor family inheriting the Lancastrian claim to the throne. Following the war and the extinction of the last male line of the House of York in 1485, a politically arranged marriage united the Houses of Lancaster and York, creating a new royal dynasty which inherited the Yorkist claim as well, thereby resolving the conflict.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal badges of England</span>

In heraldry, the royal badges of England comprise the heraldic badges that were used by the monarchs of the Kingdom of England.