Time to pin it to the wedding Pinterest board...
As with any stressful wedding prep, all the little bits and pieces are finally falling into place for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding – including the grand decorations. When it comes to the florals, it’s expected that Meghan will be sticking to tradition with a sentimental addition to her wedding bouquet: a sprig of myrtle.
The delicate white flowers symbolise love, fertility and innocence, though Kensington Palace revealed that they actually have a much deeper significance to the royal family. It turns out that many royal brides have included myrtle in their wedding bouquets, starting with Princess Victoria through to Kate Middleton at her and Prince William’s 2011 nuptials.
The story goes that Prince Albert’s grandmother gifted Queen Victoria a sprig of myrtle while on a visit in Germany, which Victoria later brought back to England and planted at her holiday home Osborne House in Isle of Wight. It survives to this day and many royal brides have actually used its cuttings in their own arrangements.
Osborne House’s head gardener Toby Beasley said, ‘Springs from the Osborne plants were traditionally incorporated into royal bridal bouquets. It’s a German tradition that signifies the innocence of the bride.’
Cuttings from the plant were later used in the wedding bouquet of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter – Princess Victoria – kickstarting the tradition in 1858. Since then, Queen Elizabeth (who was then Princess Elizabeth), Princess Diana and Kate Middleton have included the white flowers on their big days.
The Palace has confirmed that floral designer Philippa Craddock will be handling the wedding flowers, which will be ‘created using locally sourced foliage, much of which will be taken from the gardens and parkland of The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park’. They’ve said that these include branches of beech, birch, hornbeam, white garden roses, peonies and foxgloves – and given that Osborne House falls under the Crown Estate, it’s not a stretch to imagine that myrtle will be in Meghan Markle’s wedding flowers too.
Beyond myrtle, other flowers in bridal bouquets have held major significance. Kate Middleton’s for example included sweet William (for obvious reasons), lily of the valley and hyacinths which were a small tribute to Princess Diana, who loved the flowers. In fact, many of those flowers are still grown today in Princess Diana’s memorial garden in Kensington Palace.
One unexpected addition to the royal floral arrangements we bet you never would have guessed? Microphones.
Apparently, Queen Elizabeth likes to hide microphones in the decorations to keep them out of sight. Is she a savvy decorator or a secretly spying on everybody? We’ll let you decide.
Another more sombre tradition relating to the wedding bouquet is that after the ceremony, the arrangement is sent to be placed on the Grave of the Unknown Soldier. The Queen Mother started the ritual in 1923 in memory of her brother Fergus.