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Royal Wedding Flowers: the myrtle of Sofiero

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, 2010

The royal family of Sweden do like a royal wedding in June. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia married in the month as did all three of their children while three of the king’s four sisters were June brides, too. And all of them had something else in common, too. For every Swedish royal bride since 1935 has had a very sentimental and poignant addition to their bouquets. All of them have carried myrtle from Sofiero on their wedding days.

The myrtle was brought to Sweden by Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, following her own royal wedding. Margaret had fallen in love with Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden, then second in line to his country’s throne, and they married in a very regal ceremony at St. George’s Chapel on June 15th 1905. And amongst the many things brought to Sweden from Britain by the bride was a myrtle shrub, grown from a clipping taken from another planted by Queen Victoria herself.

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The plant found a home at Sofiero, the summer residence at Helsingborg which was given to the newlyweds by the groom’s grandparents, King Oscar II and Queen Sophia. Gustav Adolf and Margaret, who became Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden in 1907, both loved gardening and transformed the gardens at Sofiero into manicured masterpieces with a growing reputation.

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However, Margaret would never know about the romantic tradition that would grow from the myrtle she planted at Sofiero. She died in 1920, while expecting her sixth baby who sadly passed away with her. But her garden continued to bloom.

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When her only daughter, Ingrid, got married in 1935 she decided on a very poignant tribute to her mother in her wedding flowers. Princess Ingrid of Sweden included a sprig of myrtle in her bouquet for her wedding to the Crown Prince of Denmark, Frederick, and ever since then all Swedish and Danish royal brides have done the same.

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Margaret’s grandson is now King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and during his reign, the tradition has been maintained by the women of his regal family. His own bride, Silvia Sommerlath, carried myrtle in her bouquet while Swedish brides also add a few of the leaves to their hair on their wedding days in another nod to Margaret.

Now it is part of a royal tradition that has taken root and flourished – just like the shrub brought to her new home by a princess who fell in love and helped create a new royal dynasty.

Royal wedding flowers are included in a new anthology from Royal Central. Royal Weddings, A Collection is on sale as a paperback and an ebook at Amazon.

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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.