The wedding of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones, on May 6th 1960 at Westminster Abbey, was a spectacular moment of royal pageantry that saw the Mall decked out with a floral arch so big it was said to have used up most of London’s supply of roses. With a statement of flower power like that, you might have expected Margaret’s wedding posy to be on the grand side. However, this royal bride’s choice of bouquet was rather understated.
More than once, this royal wedding bouquet been described as a scaled down version of the flowers that her sister, the Queen, carried at her own marriage. There’s no doubt that the blooms chosen by Margaret, fourth in line to the throne at the time of her wedding, certainly echoed those used by her sister at Westminster Abbey in 1947. Both bouquets are dominated by orchids with Margaret opting for a miniature version of the flower.
Around the orchids are lily of the valley, which traditionally blooms at the start of May, and stephanotis, a bridal favourite with its jasmine like flowers. Amidst all those creamy blooms is a sprig of myrtle from a bush planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Traditionally, royal brides include it in their bouquet and the Queen’s sister was no exception.
Queen Victoria had also been a great fan of the language of flowers and the bouquet carried by Margaret, one of her great, great-granddaughters, contained plenty of romantic messages. The orchids symbolize love, beauty and charm while the stephanotis means ‘’marital happiness’’ as does the myrtle. The lily of the valley symbolizes ‘’the return of happiness’’ – apt for Margaret, that most romantic of royal brides, whose path to the altar included a famous renunciation of a previous love, the divorced Peter Townsend, and whose royal wedding was seen by many as a happy ending for a fairytale princess.
It is, perhaps, among the more discreet of royal wedding bouquets but it does sit with that famous Hartnell wedding dress and the Poltimore tiara rather well. Fresh and vibrant, this bouquet was filled with the hope that the marriage of Princess Margaret brought with it.