Roses with royal connections

The monarch and her family, as well as royal residences, all have roses named after them.

By Helen McGurk
Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:25 pm
The Queen admiring roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018.
The Queen admiring roses at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018.

It’s almost celebration time, when people nationwide will be enjoying a garden or street party for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

In gardens, thanks to the mild spring, many roses will be in bloom, and many more are named in honour of royals.

Several new varieties have been launched in the run-up to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, while old favourites with a royal connection are sure to bring colour and scent to the event. Here are just a few to look out for during this memorable year…

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1. Elizabeth

(David Austin Roses, davidaustinroses.co.uk)

New this year, this graceful pale pink-apricot rose has been launched by David Austin Roses to mark the occasion. It’s a repeat flowering shrub rose with a strong sweet fragrance, and hints of lemon sherbet and Old Rose. Suitable for a mixed border, rose border and shady areas, this rose will form a shapely shrub when pruned.

2. Clarence House

(Peter Beales, classicroses.co.uk)

This modern climber, which bears creamy white blooms with tints of soft primrose yellow, was given to the Queen Mother for her centenary at Sandringham Flower Show, and reportedly named at her express wish. It has a citrus scent, glossy foliage and double flowers, which are excellent for cutting.

3. The Queen Elizabeth II Rose

(Harkness Roses, roses.co.uk)

This new fragrant hybrid tea bush rose in shades of apricot pink was reportedly selected by the Queen, to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. It has large classic shaped flowers which combine elements of soft pink light amber gold and cream, and a strong sweet rose scent. It’s a robust type, with dark green leaves and good disease resistance and is ideal in beds, borders or hedges, large patio containers and for cutting. Height and spread 60-70cm. For every rose sold in the first five years, £2.50 will be donated to The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which supports the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople – helping support Britain’s cultural heritage in the process.

4. Duke of Edinburgh

(Harkness Roses, roses.co.uk)

This newly bred deep pink commemorative rose was officially named in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh and presented to the Queen in 2021. A royalty from the sale of each rose will go to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Living Legacy Fund, which will give more young people the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

5. William and Catherine

(David Austin Roses, davidaustinroses.co.uk)

This subtle, fragrant white rose was launched to celebrate the Royal Wedding in 2011. It produces white, shallowly cupped, full-petalled blooms with impressive regularity throughout summer. They have a pure myrrh fragrance and form an attractive shrub with bushy, relatively upright growth.

6. Sandringham

(Peter Beales Roses, classicroses.co.uk)

It’s appropriate that the East Anglia-based company launched this scented, repeat-flowering bush rose, given the Queen’s Norfolk residence is not too far away. Apparently the Duchess of Cornwall selected the deep pink, heady-scented shrub rose from a selection of three presented to her at the 2014 Sandringham Flower Show.

7. Princess Anne

(David Austin Roses, davidaustinroses.co.uk)

Launched in honour of the Princess Royal in 2010, this award-winning favourite shrub rose has deep pink, almost red young flowers which fade to pure rich pink, with a hint of yellow on their undersides. Held in large, fragrant clusters, they are produced with remarkable freedom. A particularly healthy variety, it forms a bushy, upright shrub with thick, succulent, highly polished foliage.

8. The Countess of Wessex

(Peter Beales, classicroses.co.uk)

This elegant creamy shrub rose was so named at the suggestion of Bishop Peter Nott, formerly of Norwich, who had the honour of officiating at the wedding of the Earl and Countess of Wessex at St George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1999. The large, full flowers open from pointed buds to display golden yellow stamens amid dark, glossy foliage. It can be grown as a small climber or hedge, but if you don’t have much space it can also be grown in a pot.