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FeaturesNorwayRoyal Weddings

The most unusual royal wedding bouquet of all?

It’s not often the bridal bouquet gets its own name but that’s just what happened at the first major royal wedding of the 21st century. When Mette-Marit Tjessem Hjoiby married Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, on August 25th 2001 in Oslo, she carried an unusual arrangement of flowers that had a title all of its own.

The creation was called ‘Brudeloperen’ and it remains one of the most memorable of all royal bridal bouquets. It was designed by one of Oslo’s most respected florists, Aina Nyberget Kleppe, along with Mette-Marit herself and it defied every expectation for royal wedding flowers.

The shape is perhaps the most distinctive part of this arrangement. Mette-Marit moved away from the traditional formations of round posies or cascading bouquets and went linear with her flowers. The purple blooms were arranged in long, straight lines that fell almost to the floor.

The stems chosen to make up the bouquet included hydrangeas, orchids and roses as well as greenery like rosary vine and bear grass. The flowers were fixed to a structure of willow and moss, held together with wire, to help keep their shape through the long royal wedding day.

Mette-Marit chose deep shades of purple and green for her bouquet, another unusual pick. However, there are also more traditional bridal pinks in the flowers as well and from a distance, the bouquet gives a glancing impression of the colours of the Norwegian flag – red, white and blue.

In the language of flowers, so beloved by Queen Victoria, a great, great, great grandmother of Crown Prince Haakon, the colour choices are rather symbolic. Purple means royalty, an appropriate nod for a bride who had faced criticism from some for her past but who became a queen in waiting on her wedding day. White flowers are a symbol of marriage while pink denotes sensitivity. Bridal roses take the meaning of happy love.

The bouquet was also the perfect compliment to the wedding dress chosen by Mette-Marit and designed by Ove Harder Finseth. Twenty years on, she remains an all time classic royal bride with perhaps the most unusual bouquet of all.

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.