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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Royal Wedding Wednesdays~ Bouquet Toss

The wedding is now just nine days away. Every Wednesday since January I have presented posts on cakes, carriages, castles~ part I and part II, tiaras, the church, wedding gowns~ part I and part II and almost every Royal Wedding related topic imaginable.  If you are a regular reader, when the big day arrives you will know the wedding party, many of the family members, how they are titled, what the reception will be like and most importantly, what to wear.


Indeed I have just two more topics to cover. This week will be the history of bouquets and the meaning (also known as the language) behind the selected flowers in Royal bridal bouquets. Next week I will be presenting my favorite ideas for decorating for a Royal Wedding party. There will also be a linky party attached to next week’s post so that you may link up whatever you deem Royal~ such as vacation images of castles, meeting the Royals, if you are hosting a party or perhaps even your own wedding~ I want to see those photos and posts!  


But for now our thoughts turn to bouquets. There are two traditions associated with Royal brides. The first is that a sprig of Royal Myrtle ('Myrtus communis') gathered from a bush at Osborne House, Queen Victoria's main residence on the Isle of Wight, is included in each Royal bouquet.

This tradition was begun back in 1840 when Queen Victoria planted a sprig of myrtle from her bridal bouquet after her wedding to Prince Albert.

Here the Queen is shown taking tea amongst her beloved myrtle.

The second tradition was begun in 1923 by the Queen Mother who laid her bridal bouquet at the grave of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey on her wedding day. She did so in honor of her brother, Fergus, who died during the First World War.

This is the reason why no bouquet is shown in the official wedding photos of the Duke and Duchess of York. Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana and other Royal brides now have the bouquet delivered the day after the ceremony. So if you visit Westminster on April 30th you can get an up-close view of Catherine’s bouquet as she has opted to uphold the tradition.


Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon carried a bouquet of white heather and white roses. The white heather symbolizes protection and wishes will come true, while the white rose represents innocence and purity as well as honor and reverence.

Queen Elizabeth’s bouquet carries with it a mystery. Martin Longman, a florist with Worshipful Company of Gardeners made the bouquet overnight in his shop in Ludgate Hill and delivered it personally to Princess Elizabeth's apartment at Buckingham Palace on the morning of November 20, 1947. The all white bouquet featured three types of British-grown orchids: cattleya, odontoglossum and cypripedium as well as a sprig of myrtle.  The orchid’s meaning is love, beauty, refinement and is a Chinese symbol for many children.

Misfortune seemed to follow Princess Elizabeth on her wedding day. Her wedding tiara snapped in two, her pearls were left at the wrong palace and later, some time during the newlywed’s return to the Palace or during the wedding breakfast, the wedding bouquet was mislaid and could not be found in time for the group picture.

Lady Diana avoided this same fate by having two identical bouquets made. I cannot even begin to think about how her arms must have ached from carrying this bouquet around all day.  It measured 42" long and 15" wide and was said to weigh between 4 ~ 6 pounds. It was a gift from the Worshipful Company of Gardeners and was created by florist David Longman, whose father had created Queen Elizabeth’s wedding bouquet.

Her bouquet featured several flowers.

The yellow Earl Mountbatten roses (in memory of Prince Charles’ beloved uncle) inspired the color of the bridesmaid sashes. She also of course carried a sprig of myrtle as well as a sprig of Veronica from Queen Victoria’s plants. Other blossoms in her bouquet included: gardenias~ Secret Love, stephanotis ~ Happiness in Marriage, Odontoglossum orchids ~ Mature Charm, Hedera Ivy and Tradescantia leaves.

Sarah Ferguson, who became the Duchess of York when she married Prince Andrew, carried a crescent shaped bouquet of cream lilies ~ Majesty, palest yellow roses ~ Joy, Friendship , gardenias ~Secret Love , lilies-of-the-valley ~ Sweetness and the traditional sprig of myrtle.

Sophie Rhys~ Jones carried a bouquet of ivory roses, calla lilies ~Beauty ~, stephanotis, clustered lily of the valley and ivory freesia when she married Prince Edward on June 19, 1999.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, carried a small bouquet of lilies of the valley and primroses ~ I Can’t Live Without You ~ when she wed Prince Charles.

Queen Mary carried orange blossoms, “House of York” roses, white orchids, lilies of the valley and white “The Bride” carnations when she wed King George V.

Yet where was her daughter, Princess Mary’s, bouquet?

Princess Margaret carried a stunning bouquet of white orchids and stephanotis.

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, had a lovely bouquet of lilies and a future Queen (lower right) as a flower girl.

Her sister in law remains my favorite. Lady Alice had a brilliant bouquet of English garden roses for her wedding to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester in 1935.

What is your favorite bouquet? Perhaps it is your own. Show it off at next week’s linky party. Anything wedding or Royal related, past or present post, will do.


The best bit of British flavor I am currently encountering is the remake of PBS’s Upstairs Downstairs. Has anyone else been watching this fabulous series?



Nancy's Notes said...

What a great post, a fascinating read and awesome photographs!

Have a great day!


Debbie said...

Another wonderful post, Laura. I have enjoyed this series so much!
I think that Diana's bouquet is my favorite. I love a cascade, and hers really cascaded.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Wonderful history on these!! I love it!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Julia said...

what a fabulous post.. your blog is amazing!

jewelstreet said...

So interesting though I have to admit I'll be glad when the wedding is over. So glad these things don't come around too often. :)

Your fave is mine too. That's a lovely bouquet. Shame it's not in color.

Stitchfork said...

Emjoyed reading all about the bouquets! And you're so right - you'd have to be building some arm strength up before the ceremony to carry some of these bouquets around for any length of time!
xo Cathy

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

I probably like Lady Alice the best, because it is roses and that is what I had for a bouquet.

Ladybird Ln said...

I love these posts so interesting! I am definitely partial to the English Garden Rose!


laxsupermom said...

I love this series! Such beautiful bouquets. I love Fergie's bouquet - I can't imagine having to carry some of those larger ones all day. Thanks for sharing.

ImagiMeri said...

Good Morning Pretty Lady,

We're getting pretty excited over here, too. My oldest daughter and possibly my sister (the one you met) will sleep over at my house and get up early to watch the wedding.

I hope you have a grand time in France, and don't forget to bring a container full of French goodies just for me!!!!

Love ya'

Jen said...

I love how tradition plays such a role in the royal weddings; from multiple generations playing a role, to something so simple as laying a bouquet at the tomb of the unknown. All of the bouquets are gorgeous and I love the meanings behind the flowers.

I do believe we are having a girls night to watch the wedding live on BBC. My hubby said he would stay in a hotel! ha! Some things you never outgrow!

Karena said...

Amazing resarch Laura just amzing photographs of royalty!!

I love the extravagant beauty of the large florals, however would like something smaller like Fergies (is that awful!)

Thank you so much for the post for
my Fashionable Giveaway from The French Basketeer!!

Art by Karena

Ruth...Time Was Antiques said...

Wonderful usual! Hasn't it been fun to anticipate next week by looking back? I have just finished my posts of Charles & Diana's wedding gifts.
Happy Easter and have a lovely weekend.

Emily said...

This is all such interesting information. I did not about the bouquet...........thanks for the post, I'll visit again

The French Hutch

Auntie Em said...

Very interesting. I admire the beautiful and lavish bouquets the royalty carried but my own was as far removed from theirs as could be! I carried a single red rose and baby's breath tied with a satin ribbon, my DH wore a smaller one on his lapel. Our matron of honour and best man had the same but in fav colour. I didn't throw it (which might have been wise since it could have poked somebody's eye out!) And if I were doing it again today, I would do the same all over again! I love a single rose.
Thanks for sharing all the great photos and stories! Love the meanings of the flowers and the traditions.

Mom in High Heels said...

Yay for RWW!!! I can't believe the wedding is only 9 days away! How exciting. Our wedding book is bouquet themed and features famous bouquets from weddings past. One of them is Diana's bouquet. I had mine made based on hers, but with the Stargazer Lily as the main flower. I wanted a long trailing bouquet like hers. The fashion at the time was small bundles, but I was determined to have a long one. I adored it.
Great post. Can't believe there's only one more on THIS wedding before the big day. Do you think there will be as much info available for the other royal weddings?

Mary Ellen said...

Laura you have made Wednesday so fun learning about royalty! I can't believe it will soon be coming to an end. :(

bee blessed

French said...

I love the idea of the orange blossoms, though any citrus flower would do! 9 days til the wedding and that means 9 days til bon vayage!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Oh, I have learned so much and all of your wonderfully researched informative and beautiful Royal posts will make the upcomoming royal wedding so much more enjoyable!
I will be so sad when all of your Royal posts are over. I look forward to every one!

Miss Sandy said...


Wonderful inspiration and information! Love it, very inspiring as I am in the midst of wedding planning with my daughter. I will have to look up the meaning of her chosen flowers.

Splenderosa said...

I love the tradition you're shared with us. Beautiful post, Laura. xx's

5th and state said...

laura i LOVED this in-depth post! had no idea you were doing this series, love it......where have i been? engand, for 6 weeks.....wishing i could stay for the wedding. villages all through the country are hosting street festivals that day



Mimi said...

I am watching everything on tv labeled Royal Wedding!!!
I think I will be in joy that day!!!!I plan on placing my newspaper clippings I inherited maybe Friday, as I watch 2 littles 3 full days a week, and NO I hope I get it done!!!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Lady Alice's bouquet was my favorite, too, although they are all gorgeous--hard to go wrong with flowers of any kind in my eyes! said...

I left a comment here last night. Did you get it?

Your Friend,

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

A scentfully and fascinating blog post! Have a fabulous time in France. Paris in the special is that? :)

Jane @ Jane's Junk and Treasures said...

I just love your blog!!!

Joyce said...

This has all been not only informative..but fun!!! Thank you for doing all that you have done here for all of us!

Susan (My Place to Yours) said...

I love Sophie Rhys-Jones' calla lily bouquet. Such great texture and style! Another wonderful post, Laura!