Blanche married Henry the Fat. The exact date has been lost in the mist of history, sometime in the middle 1200’s. In 1273 Henry died, it is said by suffocating in his own fat, leaving Blanche in the little town of Provins, France with at least 1 child, possibly more.
At this time Provins was known to be a center of medicine and healing. One of the town’s claims to fame was the red rose known as “The Rose of Provins” which had so very many uses in medicine. Every street seemed to have its own apothecary store with a red rose of Provins growing by the front door.
About this time Edmund, who had also just lost his wife of 6 years, who he had married when she was only 10, was coming back from one of the later crusades in Palestine. As was common then, he stopped over at Provins to rest before continuing his journey home.
While there Edmund became enamored of two things. The red rose of Provins and Blanche. He married Blanche and took her and the red rose back to his home in England.
Why this is important is because Blanche was Blanche Capet (daughter of Robert I, Count of Artois), Henry the fat was Henry I, King of Navarre (Henry III of Champagne) and Edmund was Edmund Plantagenet, 1st Earl of Lancaster (Crouchback). And the red rose? It was also known as the “Apothecary Rose” or “Rosa gallica officinalis’” and became the symbol of the House of Lancaster during the English “War of the Roses”. The red color in the British flag, the Union Jack represents the red rose of Lancaster.
How the Apothecary rose got to Provins is a tale that includes Charlemagne, Cleopatra, and perhaps even Julius Caesar. But that’s a tale for another time.