Historically, the rose was used by ancient Egyptian pharaohs. The Romans imported roses from Egypt and even developed a hot house technology to maximize their bloom.
The rose was the symbol of the feuding Royal Houses of Lancaster (Red Rose) and York (White Rose), thus the name of the famous conflict The Wars of the Roses.
With all this attention, it's no wonder that roses have become a symbol of love and beauty, the queen of flowers, and the national flower of England.
For meanings of the colours of roses please see the dedicated "Rose" section.