Roses

The Wars of the Roses. A civil contest that lasted thirty years, in which eighty princes of the blood, a larger portion of the English nobility, and some 100,000 common soldiers were slain. It was a contest between the Lancastrians and Yorkists, whose supporters wore in their caps as badges a red or white rose, the Red rose (gules) being the cognisance of the House of Lancaster, and the White rose (argent) being the badge of the House of York. (1455-1485.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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