The wedding bouquet carried by the Duchess of Sussex at her marriage ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor on May 19th 2018 wasn’t just pretty, delicate and very spring like. It contained all kinds of special symbolism. In the language of flowers, so beloved of Queen Victoria, this bridal posy told a very romantic story. But both Meghan and Harry had ensured there were more modern, and really rather poignant, symbols in the bouquet.
Meghan’s posy, created by Philippa Craddock, was made up of bridal favourites including lily of the valley and jasmine as well as sweet peas and astrantia. Two other plants, with royal links, were included in the arrangement which was designed in a natural style and held at the base with raw silk ribbon. Like many a royal bride before her, Meghan carried myrtle in her bouquet. She also chose to include forget me nots, a favourite flower of Diana, Princess of Wales and which was added, Kensington Palace, said ‘’to honour the memory of the late Princess on this special day’’.
In fact, all the blooms in this bouquet have plenty of special meaning in Queen Victoria’s beloved language of flowers. Lily of the valley is a bit of a staple in royal wedding bouquets and no wonder. This fragrant flower, which comes into its own in May, signifies a ‘’return to happiness’’. Jasmine has a wide range of meanings and is often used as a symbol of love and beauty.
The sweet peas are sign of appreciation and also mean ‘’blissful pleasure’’. They’re a traditional cottage garden flower as is the astrantia whose name comes from the Latin for star, adding some extra sparkle to the whole symbolism of this wedding bouquet.
The myrtle, too, is highly significant meaning love and for centuries it has been seen as an emblem of marriage. It’s also a way of linking new royal brides to all those who have gone before as the use of this fragrant plant in regal wedding bouquets goes all the way back to Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Princess Victoria, who added sprigs of the plant to her posy when she married in 1858. The leaves in Meghan’s bouquet was taken from a bush grown from the myrtle used in the Queen’s own wedding posy.
And then we come to the forget me nots. While their name holds plenty of significance in itself, their meaning in the language of flowers adds more. For these blooms don’t just signify memories, they are also a sign of true love.
But the sweetest message in this arrangement was nothing to do with Queen Victoria. It turns out the Duke of Sussex handpicked several flowers from the couple’s private gardens at Kensington Palace on the day before the wedding to include in the posy, a gesture of love from groom to bride. That thing in your eye right now is probably hayfever. Probably.