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British RoyalsFeaturesHistoryRoyal Weddings

Royal Wedding Flowers: Sarah, Duchess of York

Sarah, Duchess of York Flowers Banner

The wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, on July 23rd 1986, was really rather floral indeed. We expect all brides to carry a bouquet but Sarah, unlike many women in recent royal history, chose to wear flowers in her hair, too. As she made her way into Westminster Abbey, this royal bride was surrounded by petals and all of them had special meanings for the brie.

Sarah Ferguson packed a lot of symbolism into her outfit with her dress and train embroidered with her and her husband’s initials. And her royal wedding flowers were no different, arranged into an ‘S’ shape. They were designed by Jane Packer. It was a medium sized arrangement and, because of the shape it had to take, very structured.

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So let’s talk petals. This bouquet contained plenty of wedding staples. There are gardenias, roses and lily of the valley as well as the traditional sprig of myrtle taken from the garden created by Queen Victoria. There are also lilies throughout the arrangement which was mostly cream although some of those roses were the palest yellow.

In the language of flowers, so popular with the Victorians, the blooms all had rather romantic meanings, too. Lily of the valley denotes a ‘’return to happiness’ while the traditional myrtle means love and is a symbol of marriage. The lilies represent purity while the rose is a long held symbol of love. Yellow roses are a bit trickier – some take them to mean friendship and joy while others say they denote jealousy.

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But the gardenias are perhaps the most interesting bloom in this royal display. The Victorians loved to send them as an expression of secret love while they can also be taken to mean ‘’you’re lovely’’. The white version of the flower also denotes sincerity. Sarah’s floral headpiece also contained these blooms because they were her husband to be’s favorite flowers and that’s a whole other layer of symbolism on its own.

The flowers that Fergie wore in her hair were removed while she signed the register and this bride emerged wearing a tiara, given to her by the Queen, and seen as a sign that she was now a royal. Her bouquet, meanwhile, was placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey following her wedding, following a tradition started in 1923 by the Queen Mother.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.