To recognise the importance of the four countries of the United Kingdom to the King, each is represented on individual coins of our latest release; the 2023 King Charles III Accession Sovereign Series, by their distinctive national flowers: the English rose, the Scottish thistle, the Welsh daffodil and the Irish shamrock. You may recall that upon his accession King Charles III visited each of these home nations.
In this blog, we explore all there is to know about the national flowers of the United Kingdom.
The English Rose
The national flower of England is the Tudor rose. This rose was adopted as England’s motif by Henry VII as a symbol of peace after the ‘War of the Roses’; a 15th century civil war between the House of Lancaster and the House of York. It combines the white rose of the House of York together with the red rose of the House of Lancaster, a design chosen to represent the union of the two houses during the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York.
The Tudor rose is shown on the uniforms of the guards at the Tower of London and in the royal coat of arms. It is also used to represent England in sport, and is featured on England’s national football badge.
The Scottish Thistle
The national flower of Scotland is the thistle, which is commonly found in the Scottish highlands. Although it is not clear how this became the country’s national flower, legend has it that it became the official motif after a Scottish party of warriors were spared an ambush in the 15th century, when a soldier from a Norse army stood on the prickly flower barefoot, awaking the warriors with his cries.
In 1687, James III founded the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, which is awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the life of Scotland. The thistle is an important heraldic symbol and is also the motif of the Scottish national rugby union team.
The Welsh Daffodil
The national flower of Wales is the daffodil. How the daffodil came to be named as Wales’ national flower has always been a hot topic of debate. Up until the 19th century, the leek was actually the traditional emblem of Wales, and there may have been confusion around this because the Welsh name for daffodil is Cenninen Pedr, which literally translates to ‘Saint Peter’s Leek’.
The daffodil is traditionally worn on St David’s Day, which commences on the 1st March every year and celebrates Wales’ patron saint, David. The fact that daffodils bloom in early spring, coinciding with St David’s Day, makes this flower a recognisable symbol of Wales.
The Irish Shamrock
The national flower of Ireland is the three-leaf shamrock; it is a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland, and the national symbol of Northern Ireland. It is believed that the shamrock was used by St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity; the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. It was only ever classed as a symbol of St Patrick, until it was recognised as a national symbol of Ireland in the 18th Century.
Although not to be confused with the lucky charm that is the four-leafed clover, it is believed that the shamrock has always been a charm used against evil by Celtic lore, and this coincides with the modern belief of the four-leafed clover bringing good luck.
All four of United Kingdom’s national flowers are featured alongside King Charles III’s royal cypher as part of this prestigious set, celebrating the accession of our new monarch. Secure yours HERE.