A royal wedding is always a cause for celebration, not just for love and country, but also sartorially speaking.
Who among us can forget Diana, the fairy tale princess bride, in 1981, the beaming Princess Elizabeth finally walking down the aisle with her soulmate Prince Philip 70 years ago in her classic wedding dress or the Duchess of Cambridge in her stunning Alexander McQueen gown?
Royal wedding dresses have to stand the test of time, but it’s not just the dress we remember. It’s the bouquet.
Today we’re going to look back at some of the most famous royal wedding bouquets from the brides in Great Britain to other European countries.
Will Meghan Markle take a page from any of their books for her own wedding? We’re betting myrtle will be included in her bouquet. Read on to find out why.
We can thank Queen Victoria for sparking a wedding tradition when she married her beloved Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840: the white wedding dress. The Queen was famously devoted to her husband – and mourned him for the 40 years following his death until her own in 1901.
It’s no surprise, then, that her wedding bouquet was made up solely of Prince Albert’s favourite flower: the snowdrop.
Prince Albert had a bush of myrtle brought over from Germany to the Isle of Wight, where it grew and sparked another royal wedding tradition. Since the wedding of Queen Victoria’s oldest daughter, Princess Victoria, a sprig of myrtle has been used in every royal bouquet.
The Queen Mother
The Queen Mother started a tradition when she left her wedding bouquet at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey on 26 April 1923, in honour of her brother Fergus, who’d been killed in service during the First World War.
Because she left her bouquet at the beginning of the service, there are no official photographs of it, and sources are conflicted on what it looked like. Some say it had white heather and white roses, some say carnations, ferns, and lilies.
Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen recently celebrated her platinum wedding anniversary, having married Prince Philip on 20 November 1947. Her wedding dress was made using ration coupons, and her bouquet was made of white orchids and the traditional sprig of myrtle.
For Princess Margaret’s 1960 wedding to Antony Armstrong-Jones, she carried a smaller version of her older sister’s bouquet: white orchids and myrtle.
Diana, Princess of Wales
When Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, their wedding was a global sensation. Her wedding dress was quintessential ‘80s fairy tale princess bride, designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel.
Her bouquet was equally over-the-top, a 42” cascading design that contained gardenias, freesias, lilies of the valley, ivy, hebe, stephanotis, odontoglossum orchids, tradescantia, Earl Mountbatten Roses, and the traditional sprig of myrtle.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex
When Sophie Rhys-Jones married Prince Edward on 19 June 1999, her bouquet contained exclusively white flowers, including calla lilies, lilies of the valley, and freesia.
The Duchess of Cornwall
On Camilla’s wedding day, 9 April 2005, her bouquet was small, with blooms of grey and cream to match her dress, primroses, Lily of the Valley, and a sprig of myrtle.
The Duchess of Cambridge
On Catherine’s wedding day, 29 April 2011, she carried a smaller, shield-shaped bouquet that contained myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, sweet William (a nod to her husband-to-be), and hyacinth. It was designed by Shane Connolly.
Princess Grace of Monaco
When Princess Grace married Prince Rainier III in 1956, she carried a small bouquet of white lilies and a prayer book because of her deep religious convictions.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark
Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik married in 1967, and the quirky queen, whose nickname is Daisy, made sure that daisies were on display that day. She wore a daisy brooch pinned to her bodice, carried daisies in her bouquet, and the bridesmaids had daisies in their hair.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
The Tasmanian-born Crown Princess of Denmark married her prince in May 2005, and included a nod to her native Australia when she walked down the aisle carrying a bouquet of cream roses, stephanotis, white hydrangeas, and eucalyptus. The bouquet was later flown to Scotland to rest upon her mother’s grave (her mother had died in 1997).