The national symbols of England are flags, icons or cultural expressions that are emblematic, representative or otherwise characteristic of England or English culture. As a rule, these national symbols are cultural icons that have emerged from English folklore and tradition, meaning few have any official status. However, most if not all maintain recognition at a national or international level, and some, such as the Royal Arms of England, have been codified in heraldry, and are established, official and recognised symbols of England.
The national flag of England, known as St. George's Cross, has been England's national flag since the 13th century. Originally the flag was used by the maritime state the Republic of Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to the Doge of Genoa from 1190 onwards, so that English ships could fly the flag as a means of protection when entering the Mediterranean. A red cross acted as a symbol for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became associated with Saint George, along with countries and cities, which claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner. Since 1606 the St George's Cross has formed part of the design of the Union Flag, a Pan-British flag designed by King James I.
The Royal Banner of England (also known as the Banner of the Royal Arms, the Banner of the King of is the English banner of arms, that features the Royal Arms of England. This Royal Banner differs from England's national flag, St George's Cross, in that it does not represent any particular area or land, but rather symbolises the sovereignty vested in the rulers thereof.
The Royal Arms of England is a coat of arms symbolising England and the English monarchs. Designed in the High Middle Ages, the Royal Arms was subject to significant alteration as the territory, politics and rule of the Kingdom of England shifted throughout the Middle Ages. However, the enduring blazon, or technical description, is "Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure", meaning three horizontally positioned identical gold lions facing the observer, with blue tongues and claws, on a deep red background.
The oak is the national tree of England, representing strength and endurance. The Royal Oak and Oak Apple Day commemorate the escape of King Charles II from the grasps of the parliamentarians after his father's execution; he hid in an oak tree to avoid detection before making it safely into exile. The Major Oak is an 800–1000 year old oak in Sherwood Forest, famed as the alleged principal hideout of Robin HFood and drink