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) 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.
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding is a widely consumed part of English cuisine, and is symbolic of England. It is considered to be the national dish of England.
Tea is symbolic of England. In 2006, a government sponsored survey confirmed that a cup of tea constituted a national symbol of England. It may also be considered to be symbolic of Britain rather than merely just England as it epitomises the British connection with Empire and India and is not specifically pre-Union of the Crowns or pre-Union of Parliaments. It is also drunk widely and equally in England, Scotland and Wales.
Cider, perry, beer and ale could all be considered traditional English drinks. Mead would have been drunk by the Anglo-Saxons.
^Yorke, B. A. E. (2001), "Alfred, king of Wessex (871-899)", in Michael Lapidge et al., The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Blackwell Publishing, pp. 27–28, ISBN978-0-631-15565-2CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)