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The Netherlands

Queen Máxima’s wedding bouquet which denotes innocence, secrecy and hidden love

While a royal wedding dress might grab all the headlines with the almost obligatory tiara coming a close second, no set of regal nuptials would be complete without a bridal bouquet. We might not get round to admiring it until after our fourth discussion about the wedding gown itself but the flowers have their own part in every big royal wedding.

That was no different on February 2nd 2002 when Máxima Zorreguieta married the then heir to the Dutch throne, Willem-Alexander, in a day of celebrations that brought hundreds of thousands of people on to the streets of Amsterdam to celebrate with the future king and queen.

Máxima gave us plenty of opportunities to enjoy her bouquet as she kept it with her throughout the civil ceremony at the Beurs van Berlage and her religious marriage that followed at the Nieuwe Kerk.

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She chose a structured and classic style for her wedding flowers, carrying a cascading, teardrop-shaped bouquet made up of white and cream blooms interspersed with deep green foliage. The flowers in this very regal bouquet included classic bridal picks. Máxima selected white roses, gardenias and lily of the valley for her wedding posy.

In the language of flowers, all three have special meanings for weddings. Lily of the valley is among the most popular flowers for royal brides, perhaps because of its significance. It denotes a ‘’return to happiness’’ as well as sweetness. It is also taken to mean ‘’you’ve made my life complete’’.

White roses denote innocence and sometimes secrecy while gardenias also have a clandestine air about them, denoting hidden love. They also carry the meaning ‘’you’re lovely’’, all very appropriate for a modern wedding.

Máxima’s bouquet ticks all the classic bridal boxes while retaining all the personality that we’ve come to know and enjoy from the Queen of the Netherlands.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.