The Peace Of The Roses

Album: various (1486)

Songfacts®:

  • This was written shortly after the birth of Arthur, Prince of Wales, and appears in a song book from the court of his father, Henry VII (1457-1509). Henry was the first of the Tudors, ascending to the throne on the death of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485, the last significant battle in what was known as the Wars of the Roses. The head of the House of Lancaster, on January 18, 1486, he married Elizabeth York cementing an alliance between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. On September 20, 1486, their first son, Arthur, was born at Winchester - as in Winchester Cathedral. Winchester is also the legendary seat of Camelot, and Arthur was named after its equally legendary king.

    "The Peace Of The Roses" acknowledges this alliance:

    "I love the Rose both Red and White
    Is that your pure perfect appetite?
    To hear talk of them is my delight,
    Joyed may we be
    Our Prince to see
    In Roses three".

    In other words, the Red Rose of Lancaster unites with the White Rose of York to form the Tudor Rose.

    Alas, that was as good as things got for the House of Tudor. On November 14, 1501, Arthur was married to Catherine of Aragon - who was barely a year older - but died April 2 the following year aged only 15. In 1509, Arthur's brother Henry married his widow, the first of his six wives. After divorcing Catherine he married Anne Boleyn, and when like Catherine she was unable to give him the son and heir he wanted, he chopped off her head, which was obviously bad news for her, but Anne's execution did inspire one of the most memorable dark songs of the 1930s, "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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