Flowers have always been an understated elegance for royal weddings. Large arrangements we like to call “Impact Pieces” are the norm and what else can you have to elevate the already beautiful surroundings of Westminster Abbey? The mystery of the flowers for Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton’s wedding is not what they are but who will make the bridal bouquet. With three florists involved in the flowers for the wedding, we are sure everyone will be pleased. Prince Charles will no doubt play a role in the flowers for the wedding given his “Green” initiative. Most of the flowers are coming from royal estates.
The flowers for weddings in the UK are very much focused on the different seasons and this tradition still holds true as we are seeing the Abbey flowers to resemble the beautiful spring flowers blooming in London. The Abbey will take on the look of an English garden, with trees and flowering plants. Again, all re-purposed, with plants transplanted at Highgrove and Childrens’ hospitals.
But what will the bouquet look like is the million dollar question. It won’t be a round mound of hand tied flowers similar to those in the USA, it will be a long cascade of some sort again will seasonal flowers. Watch for the potential use of the Princess Diana Pink Rose, we predict it will be used.
Here are some of the royal bouquets throughout history:
Queen Victoria (1840) a small posy made up solely of snowdrops (Prince Albert’s favorite flower).
Queen Mary (1893) The bridal bouquet was of rare white flowers, with the old Provence rose ‘House of York’ predominating. The bouquet also included white orchids, lilies of the valley, orange blossom and a new white carnation called ‘The Bride’.
Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother (1923) Some reports say the bouquet was created by Edward Goodyear and included roses and lilies-of-the-valley with a white rose on either side. Other reports say that the bouquet was comprised of white roses and heather and was made by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. None of the wedding photos show the flowers because upon entering Westminster Abbey she placed her bouquet on the tomb of the unknown solider.
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (1934) A bouquet of lilies
Queen Elizabeth II (1947) Made by Longmans florists. It was made up of three kinds of British-grown orchids: cattleya, odontoglossum and cypripedium – to which was added a sprig of myrtle from a bush at Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s house on the Isle of Wight.
Princess Margaret (1960) bouquet comprised of white orchids and stephanotis
Princess Alexandra (1963) Victorian posy of freesias, narcissi, stephanotis and lilies-of-the-valley
Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester (1972) bouquet made by her mother-in-law Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. Modeled on a traditional Danish wedding sheaf, it was comprised of white and cream summer flowers bound with satin ribbon.
Princess Anne, Princess Royal (1973) Bridal bouquet of white roses, lilies of the valley and stephanotis was “something old” —a sprig of myrtle grown on the Isle of Wight from a sprig of Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet—and a bit of white heather for good luck. Second wedding (1992) she carried a posy of heather and wore white blossoms in her hair.
Princess Diana, Princess of Wales (1981) The wedding bouquet that Diana, Princess of Wales carried for her wedding in 1981 was made by Longmans Florists, who also designed and made the bouquet for the Queen when she married in 1947.
The bouquet, 42″ long and 15″ wide and weighed 6 pounds, was of a cascading shower design similar to those from Edwardian times. It set a trend for wedding bouquets which up to that point had been comparably small. The designers of her wedding dress, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, wanted Diana to have a large bouquet, as a small one would have obviously been dwarfed by the size of her dress. The flowers that comprised the bouquet were:
Gardenias, Stephanotis, Freesia, Odontoglossum Orchid, Lily of the Valley, Earl Mountbatten Roses, Hedera (Ivy), Tradescantia, Myrtle, Veronica (Hebe)
It’s worth noting that it is a royal wedding tradition for a sprig of myrtle, from the bush grown from the original myrtle in Queen Victoria’s wedding bouquet, to be included. The Earl of Mountbatten roses were a tribute to Prince Charles’ “Uncle Dickie” Lord Louis Mountbatten, who had died in 1979. The yellow color of the rose incidentally inspired the bridesmaid dresses.
Three bouquets were made, one for the practice the night before the wedding, the second was delivered to St. James’ Palace. The third was taken to Buckingham Palace on the day of the wedding and used for the formal photographs. As per royal wedding tradition, at least one of them would have been placed after the wedding on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York (1986) Wore a headdress of gardenias (Prince Andrew’s favorite flower) during the ceremony. After signing the wedding register she wore a borrowed tiara. The bouquet was an ‘S’-shaped spray of cream lilies, palest yellow roses, gardenias, lilies-of-the-valley and the traditional sprig of myrtle.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex (1999) The shower bouquet was created around a new variety of tall lily named after Sophie. The rest was comprised of blown ivory garden roses, scented stephanotis, clustered lily of the valley and ivory freesia.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (2005) Designed by Shane Connolly of Shane Connolly Flowers Ltd For the Service of Dedication she carried a small, simple elegant floral bouquet bound with silk from her dress. Complementing the grey blue of her dress, Auricular flowers in dusty shades of grays and creams with touches of gold, have been mixed with clusters of Lily of the Valley both for the scent and the sentiment. Again, these flowers are cut from English grown plants later to be grown in the gardens at Highgrove. A sprig of myrtle, representing happy marriage, was sent from a well wisher in Cornwall for the bouquet.