"FUIMUS - We Have Been"

"FUIMUS - We Have Been!" motto of Clan Bruce

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Monday, 29 July 2013

ONCE UPON A DREAM; For Love of a White Rose

Lost in a world of Roses at war...

This coming Thursday is the first of August, which is celebrated in my home county as Yorkshire Day.  On this day our local stately homes and gardens, country villages, towns etc honour the spirit of the White Rose, the emblem of our county, with special events, pageants and fairs.  It seems more exciting to me this year as I, like many other TV viewers in the UK, have been thoroughly gripped by the TV series The White Queen and I cannot wait to buy the DVD box set next month as soon as it is available. 

I have also been re-reading the novels by Philippa Gregory, which the series is based on; The Lady of the Rivers, The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter.  Of them all, The Kingmaker's Daughter is my favorite and I think it is because it shows Richard III in a completely new light, as a man of honour and chivalry.  The bones of Richard III have recently been discovered, excavated and brought back to York, so the spirit of the White Rose is very current here in Yorkshire. As so little is known about the heroine Anne Neville, Gregory has been able to weave out the story in her own rich, inimitable style, without being hampered by too many historical facts, which can sometimes weigh a novel down.   I already have the next book in the series, The White Princess, on pre-order with Amazon and I am now stuck in the limbo space between finishing the other novels and waiting impatiently for the next one.

I can remember my father trying to teach me about the Wars of the Roses when I was a little girl, as we both shared a love of history.  He spoon fed me stories of Scottish history, Robert the Bruce and such like, from a very young age and I loved it.  But I couldn't seem to be interested in the House of York v House of Lancaster, even though it was much closer to home.  I realize now that it was simply too complex for me to comprehend at such a young age,  with people switching sides right and left, turning their coats so fast they must have suffered whip-lash!  Now with the books, the excavation news and the BBC series of programs, I feel I have a better understanding of the  Cousin's Wars - if he were still alive, my father would be pleased with me for finally grasping it :-)  There is still a saying in Yorkshire that stems from the era of the Rose Wars and it goes;
A Rose is a Rose, unless it's Red;
And then it's a traitor and better off dead!

I'm sure the Lancastrian's must have something equally flattering towards the White Rose of Yorkshire lol.  These days the rivalry between our neighbouring counties is much more good natured. I wonder if they have a Lancaster Day when they celebrate the spirit of the Red Rose?  I like to think that they might.  I plan to light red and white candles on Yorkshire Day to honour the fallen, and the legacy. 

So as I eagerly await the publication and delivery of  The White Princess, which is fittingly released on Yorkshire Day, I am lost in musings of that time, wishing I could wear a tall, conical headdress and veil with a beautiful gown to match.  I might try to persuade my mum that a day trip to York to view Richard III's bones is worth the petrol, but I don't hold out much hope - she isn't a fan of history and thinks it's dry as old sticks! My love of history is something I get from my dad.   Whatever you are doing on Yorkshire Day, spare a thought for all those lost Roses...both White and Red. 

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