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The nod to history in the wedding flowers of a future queen

Soft, striking and above all, symbolic. The wedding bouquet carried by the future Queen of Spain, Letizia Ortiz, at her royal wedding on May 22nd 2004 was filled with significance. From personal touches to nods to one of the oldest ruling dynasties in Europe, Letizia filled her posy with meaning.

At the heart of her cascading bouquet were the iris and the lily, closely associated with the House of Bourbon. The restoration of the Spanish throne in 1975 had given this old dynasty another modern realm to call its own and the much anticipated marriage of the then heir, Felipe, was a major event. The ancient symbol of the royal house, fleur de lis, was well represented in Letizia’s bouquet.

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Although her bridal blooms were mostly cream, Letizia included the Hildegarde iris in her posy as it has a gentle blue tint to its petals, a nod to the heraldic colour of her new husband’s royal dynasty. There were also Elizabethan roses, another flower with Bourbon links.

There were other symbolic touches. Letizia, born and raised in Oviedo, became Princess of Asturias on her marriage and her pride in her home region was represented in her flowers which included apple blossom which famously fills the landscape of the area in May. The bouquet also featured the traditional bridal pick of orange blossom which was also a tribute to her husband’s late grandmother, the Countess of Barcelona.

In the language of flowers, so beloved by the Victorians, Letizia’s picks have rather appropriate meanings. White lilies symbolise majesty as well as telling an admirer that its bearer is happy to be with them. Roses mean happy love when included in a bridal bouquet while irises denote hope, wisdom and faith. Orange blossom denotes eternal love as well as marriage. Letizia’s bouquet also included ears of wheat, a symbol of our Lady of Almudena to whom the cathedral in which she was married is dedicated.

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The symbolism of this special bouquet didn’t end with the petals it included. Following their marriage, the new Prince and Princess of Asturias travelled to the Church of Our Lady of Atocha in Madrid. The Virgen of Atocha is closely associated with Spanish royalty and brides traditionally offer their bouquets to the church following a royal wedding.

It was another nod to the royal history which became her future when she said ‘I do’ to Felipe of Spain. Now her country’s first home grown queen in centuries, Letizia’s wedding flowers are forever linked to Spain.

The Queen of Spain’s wedding flowers are among the dozens of bouquets featured in Royal Central’s brand new anthology. Royal Weddings: A Collection from Royal Central is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon.

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.