The red rose of Lancaster was first used as an emblem by Edmund, son of Henry III, in August 1265. He had been created the first earl of Lancaster by his father. It is believed that the species he chose was Rosa Gallica, a cultivated rose.Subsequent earls of Lancaster kept the emblem but it did not form any part of their livery or flag. When Henry VI became King he designated the rose as the national flower of England. The rose has remained the national flower of England to this day.
The red rose of Lancaster and the white rose of York have become symbols of the Wars of the Roses but it is unlikely that either side displayed roses during the conflict. Nor was the conflict named the Wars of the Roses at the time. It is thought likely that the conflict gained its name from the scene in Shakespeare’s play Henry VI where he depicts members of both houses choosing roses in a garden.
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2017). Red Rose of Lancaster Available: https://www.tudornation.com/red-rose-of-lancaster Last accessed January 18th, 2020