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THE ROSE, THE CLOVER AND THE THISTLE

On Montreal's city flag, we can notice St George's cross, which reminds us of the English flag. There, we can distinguish three British frequent symbols on the English coins.

The rose is a symbol associated to England since the time when the King Henry III of England (1207-1272) married Eleanor of Provence. The golden rose of Provence became the floral emblem for England. From this golden rose followed the red rose for the House of Lancaster and the white rose for the House of York. After the "two roses war", the new dynasty in power, the Tudors, descendants of Lancasters, kept the symbol. It is nowadays one of the favorite themes on the English coins.

The clover is one of the symbols for Ireland. It can be easily associated to the "green hills" in the song (Greensleves) ; Ireland is often referred to as a green land. The clover (or shamrock) is also associated to Saint Patrick. It is told that this man who evangelized Ireland in the Middle Ages used the three-leaf clover to illustrate the mystery of Holy Trinity (Father, son and the Holy Spirit = three people in a unique God).

The thistle has been one of Scotland's symbols for more than five hundred years. It already appeared on the coins under King James III of Scotland (1452-1488). An old story tells about Vikings during the great invasions who tried a surprise assault on a stronghold by night, but they got injured on the feet walking on thistles and their suffering yellings alarmed the Scottish, which made them abort their attack. Because it was considered as a providential ally, it acquiered its function of floral emblem for Scotland. After the union between Scotland and England, the thistle was to appear on the British coins, with the unicorn holding the coat of arms of Scotland and the royal Scottish lion.

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Page created on January, 10th, 2006 | Last update of this page : Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

 
 

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