About empty thrones, a lot can be said. Throughout history, both ancient and near modern, a lack of an heir and the sudden death of a beloved monarch always meant trouble. When the position of a king is up for grabs, a lot of eager hands come forward. Pretenders and would-be heirs, cousins and nephews, bastard sons and daughters - they all came forward staking their claim to the throne. In the history of Medieval England, such episodes were many. Usurpers who oust kings and heirs, pretenders with long-forgotten dynastic claims: many once fought for the lucrative throne of the English Kingdom. However, by far the most important of all these historic episodes lasted from 1455 to 1487 - 32 long years of struggle and bloodshed in England. And that episode was known as the Wars of the Roses. These wars ravaged England, pitting two competing cadet families of the royal House of Plantagenet - York, and Lancaster. Their supporters, the Lancastrians and Yorkists, descended into bitter warfare over the throne. For their symbols they took red and white roses, respectively - thus giving the name to the conflict.