Friday, January 1, 2021

Red Rose .... ... and wars for England throne !!

They are beautiful .. .. though there could be hundreds of variants, most common is a ‘Red Rose’ but can one imagine them being associated with wars and brutal killings !!   A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears.There are over three hundred species and tens of thousands of cultivars.  They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing, or trailing, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows and reds. 



Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York was killed this day 560 years ago !   He inherited vast estates and served in various offices of state in Ireland, France, and England, a country he ultimately governed as Lord Protector during the madness of King Henry VI. His conflicts with Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, and other members of Henry's court, as well as his competing claim to the throne, were a leading factor in the political upheaval of mid-fifteenth-century England, and a major cause of the Wars of the Roses. 



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. The red rose was first adopted as a heraldic badge by John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster  third surviving son of King Edward III of England and father of King Henry IV, the first Lancastrian king, who seized the throne from his first cousin King Richard II. John of Gaunt's younger brother Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, adopted the White rose of York as his heraldic badge. Their respective descendants fought for control of the throne of England during several decades of civil warfare, which became known as the Wars of the Roses, after the badges of the two competing cadet royal houses.  

The Wars of the Roses were a series of English civil wars for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival cadet branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster, represented by a red rose, and the House of York, represented by a white rose. Eventually, the wars eliminated the male lines of both families. The conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, but there was related fighting before and after this period between the parties. The power struggle ignited around social and financial troubles following the Hundred Years' War. With Richard of York's death in 1460, the claim transferred to his heir, Edward. After a Lancastrian counterattack in 1461, Edward claimed the throne, and the last serious Lancastrian resistance ended at the decisive Battle of Towton. Edward was thus unopposed as the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. Resistance smouldered in the North of England until 1464, but the early part of his reign remained relatively peaceful.

A new phase of the wars broke out in 1469 after the Earl of Warwick, the most powerful noble in the country, withdrew his support for Edward and threw it behind the Lancastrian cause. Fortunes changed many times as the Yorkist and Lancastrian forces exchanged victories throughout 1469–70 (and Edward was even captured for a time in 1469).  The accession of Richard III occurred under a cloud of controversy, and shortly after assuming the throne, the wars sparked anew with Buckingham's rebellion, as many die-hard Yorkists abandoned Richard to join Lancastrians.   

Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York  arrived at York's stronghold of Sandal Castle on 21 December to find the situation bad and getting worse. Forces loyal to Henry controlled the city of York, and nearby Pontefract Castle was also in hostile hands. The Lancastrian armies were commanded by some of York's implacable enemies such as Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland and John Clifford, whose fathers had been killed at the Battle of Saint Albans, and included several northern lords who were jealous of York's and Salisbury's wealth and influence in the North. On 30 December, York and his forces sortied from Sandal Castle.   York was killed in the battle. The precise nature of his end was variously reported; he was either unhorsed, wounded and overcome fighting to the death or captured, given a mocking crown of bulrushes and then beheaded. 

Totally unrelated is the picture at the start  of Rose, an Australian actress. Mary Rose Byrne made her screen debut in the film Dallas Doll (1994),  and continued to act in Australian film and television throughout the 1990s. She obtained her first leading film role in The Goddess of 1967 (2000), which brought her the Volpi Cup for Best Actress,  and made the transition to Hollywood in the small role of Dormé in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), followed by larger parts in Troy (2004), 28 Weeks Later (2007), and Knowing (2009). 

Interesting !

 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30.12.2020

  

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