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The poignant tribute at the Coronation now recorded for history

Around the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior were arranged spring flowers symbolic of remembrance, including sprigs of rosemary, bay for virtue, bluebells and forget-me-nots for constancy of love, daffodils for chivalry, cowslips, and lilac for memories of youth. ”

These words, inscribed on the Coronation Roll of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, recall one of the most poignant tributes made at the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. For ahead of the service which saw them crowned, The King and Queen asked for a special tribute to be made. Flowers laden with meaning were placed around the edge of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in remembrance of all those who have given their lives for their country.

And now, that important commemoration is recorded for history on the Coronation Roll, the traditional telling of the service which has been handwritten on vellum in a ritual that stretches back to the early 14th century.

That record now notes that the Tomb was decorated with echoes of a wildflower meadow, recalling the homes that many young military left and never saw again during war.

Remembrance was at the heart of the floral decorations on the Tomb. Rosemary, the traditional flower of remembrance, was woven through all the blooms placed on the grave.

Poignantly, Their Majesties also chose lilac for this special tribute. It symbolised memories of youth, a reminder of how young many of those who have fought and died for their country were.

There were also flowers for bravery. Bay was chosen to denote virtue while daffodils were included to symbolise chivalry. Bluebells and forget me nots stood for constancy of love.

Other flowers from native wildmeadows were included, among them cowslips.

Queen Camilla paid her own tribute by including blooms she used in her wedding bouquet – auriculas and lily of the valley. The Queen later had her Coronation bouquet placed on the Tomb.

By tradition, all royal brides send their bouquet to Westminster Abbey to be placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, following the example set by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the last consort to be crowned in Britain until Queen Camilla.

The Coronation took place on May 6th 2023 at Westminster Abbey. The Coronation Roll was presented to King Charles and Queen Camilla just days ahead of the first anniversary of the ceremony.

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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.