It was a ground breaking and glamourous royal wedding and the images of it remain as familiar now as they have ever done. The world watched, enthralled, when Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco on April 19th 1956. Her wedding dress has become one of the most celebrated royal outfits of modern times. And her bridal bouquet is just as well known. For her religious wedding, Grace chose a simple posy of flowers that has gone on to be iconic.
At a time when royal brides were usually seen with large, structured bouquets, Grace Kelly struck out on her own. The new Princess of Monaco carried a small posy made of just one flower, lily of the valley. It’s a flower that comes into its own in the spring and it’s highly valued for its scent as well as its pretty white petals.
Grace carried the flowers on top of a bible which was embellished with pearls and silk.
In another break with bridal tradition, Grace chose completely different flowers for her attendants. Her sister and maid of honour, Peggy, carried a bouquet of tea roses while her bridesmaids held posies of daisies in their hands.
In the language of flowers, so beloved of Victorians, lily of the valley is a famous bridal flower. It means ‘’return to happiness’’ and is often included in wedding bouquets because of this sentiment. Tea roses denote ‘’I’ll remember’’ or ‘’always’’ while daisies symbolise innocence, purity and loyal love.
Following the religious ceremony, Princess Grace’s wedding flowers were placed on the altar of the Chapel of St. Devota, patron of Monaco.
The bouquet is believed to have inspired, in part, the flowers carried by another famous royal bride. The bouquet chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge for her marriage on April 29th 2011 was similar in shape and, like Grace’s, dominated by lily of the valley.
And that pretty posy, first seen on April 19th 1956, remains as distinctive a part of Grace’s wedding look as her famous dress and veil.