The only daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh is known for her down to earth, no-nonsense approach to life and in many ways, the flowers chosen by Princess Anne for her wedding in 1973 to Captain Mark Phillips were that attitude in petal form. As she became the first royal bride of her generation, the Princess chose a simple selection of flowers that fit perfectly with her classic wedding look.
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For her marriage at Westminster Abbey on November 14th, 1973, the Princess Royal carried a small spray bouquet made up of white and cream blooms. Among these royal wedding flowers were traditional bridal staples including white roses, lily of the valley and stephanotis. Anne also had a sprig of myrtle, taken from plants grown by Queen Victoria, in her bouquet – another nod to royal wedding tradition.
In the language of flowers, so beloved by Victoria, Anne’s flowers all had rather romantic meanings. Lily of the valley means ‘’a return to happiness’’ while white roses symbolise new beginnings, and they are seen as perfect petals for a first-time bride to include in her bouquet. Stephanotis means ‘’marital happiness’’ while the myrtle signifies good luck in married life.
Not all fairytales have happy endings, though, and the Princess Royal and Mark Phillips divorced in 1992 after 19 years of marriage. Happiness was just around the corner for Anne, though, as she wed for a second time later that year.
The Princess Royal married Timothy Laurence at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral, on December 12th, 1992. It was a much more low key celebration and came at a tough time for her family. Her older brother, the Prince of Wales, attended just days after his separation from Diana, Princess of Wales was announced. Her younger brother, the Duke of York, had parted from his wife, Sarah, several months earlier while the whole family was still reeling from the shock of the fire that had destroyed parts of Windsor Castle in November that year.
So perhaps the flowers that Anne carried that day were meant to have meaning for more than just the bride and groom. For this Scottish wedding, the Princess chose a posy of white heather. We all know that this flower symbolises good luck.
Both of the Princess Royal’s wedding bouquets were understated, simple and rather striking. They were clearly Anne’s own picks rather than a reflection of traditions she felt compelled to follow. And they have their own place in the history of royal wedding flowers.