English rose (epithet)

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Portrait of Elizabeth Raleigh, wife of Sir Walter
Portrait of woman, in festive masque costume, produced in the latter years of Sir Walter Raleigh
Tudor and red roses

English rose is a description, associated with English culture, that may be applied to a naturally attractive woman or girl of traditionally fair complexion who is from or is associated with England.

The description has a cultural reference to the national flower of England, the rose,[1] and to its long tradition within English symbolism.

Use in fiction[edit]

The term "English rose" is found in Merrie England (1902), a comic opera written by Basil Hood. He describes a garden where 'women are the flowers' and in which 'the sweetest blossom' or 'fairest queen' is 'the perfect English rose'.[2] The words are performed by a tenor in the role of Sir Walter Raleigh (1554–1618) in the presence of a May Queen but regarding his secret love (purely within the opera) a member of the household of Elizabeth I.

'Last of the English Roses' is a song by singer/songwriter Pete Doherty from his album Grace/Wastelands.

At the Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, Elton John performed a version of his 1974 hit Candle in the Wind which began with the adapted lyrics, Goodbye England's rose....

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "England's National Symbols". englandforever.org/.
  2. ^ Dent, edited by Susie (2012). Brewer's dictionary of phrase & fable (19th ed.). Edinburgh: Chambers. p. 445. ISBN 9780550102454.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)