St George, Shakespeare and the English rose

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Today is not just another Monday; April 23rd is St George's Day, the day of the patron saint of England, and it also happens to be the 454th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth.

The world-renowned and hugely celebrated playwright also died on this date in 1616, on what was his 52nd birthday.

Now, we're not simply giving you a history lesson in this article, we're celebrating the fact that the English rose, one of our favourite scents to work within our health and beauty and home fragrance ranges, is closely connected with both of these historical figures.

England's national flower

The rose is the national flower of England, just as the thistle is for Scotland, the daffodil for Wales and the shamrock for Ireland. This stems back to the War of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York, which took place between 1455 and 1485. Lancaster's emblem during this time was a red rose, while York's was a white rose.

Lancaster won the civil war after Henry Tudor (later Henry VII) defeated Richard III of the House of York, and thereafter the red rose became associated with the country of England.

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St George is believed to have lived more than a millennium earlier, between approximately 280 and 330 AD, but his portrayal as England's dragon-slaying patron saint has led to the estimated anniversary of his death, April 23rd, becoming intrinsically linked with the symbol of the rose.

Shakespeare and the rose

The rose is the national flower of England

Roses are also closely linked with Shakespeare, with many of his plays performed in The Rose Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse in Southwark, the first to be built specifically for this purpose.

What's more, the flower features in one of the playwright's most famous quotes, uttered by Juliet to Romeo: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." The quote is one of Shakespeare's most-recounted lines, linking him to the national flower of his country for evermore.

Celebrating the rose

Beautiful English roses continue to delight to this day, with around 150 varieties of the flower around the world. Red roses may be the blooms that first spring to mind, but roses come in pretty much every colour of the rainbow, and all of them smell absolutely divine.

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We adore the scent of roses here at Heyland & Whittle, and our handmade Rose Soap Bar is one of our favourite products. It's made from cocoa butter, with is naturally nourishing and wonderfully moisturising, and its sweet floral fragrance is simply stunning.

This glorious scent also makes our Sweet Pea & Rose products - which include a Reed Diffuser and a Candle in a Glass - smell so heady and fragrant. The gorgeous aroma of Sweet Pea & Rose is just like summer in full bloom; breathe it in and imagine you've wandered into a cottage rose garden on a beautiful summer's day - it's simply divine.

Rose also works beautifully alongside the delicate scent of blossom, like in our Neroli & Rose Reed Diffuser and Neroli & Rose Body Scrub, which smell heavenly. Sweet orange blossom blends perfectly with beloved rose to create a truly stunning fragrance to fill your home with the scent of summer, all year round.

Feeling patriotic? Celebrate St George's Day by treating yourself to one of our rose-scented products. View our collection here