Royal Wedding bouquets - from Diana to Meghan

Florismart Ambassadors and independent florists Katie-Jane Hermes and Lesley Rutter, who have experienced floristry in different eras, offer unique intel into bouquets held by the brides in royal weddings throughout history. Below, Katie-Jane has also recreated Meghan’s bouquet based on the predictions of the flowers she'll carry down the aisle on May 19th to wed Prince Harry.

HRH Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, 1947: white orchids, white cattleya, and like Victoria before her, traditional white myrtle.

Elizabeth’s bouquet was mostly flowers with very little foliage. It featured a beautiful trail of orchids. At some point during the day the Queen lost her bouquet. If you look back at the photos there are a couple of the Queen with no flowers…. Thus starting the tradition of two exact bouquets being made for royal brides.

Diana Spencer and Prince Charles, 1981: gardenias, stephanotis, odontolglossum orchid, lily of the valley, Earl Mountbatten roses, freesia, veronica, ivy, myrtle and trasdescantia.

Diana’s bouquet was huge! It wouldn’t look out of place in 2018, she certainly was ahead of her time when it came to style. The Earl Mountbatten roses added a touch of yellow to her florals as did the centre of the orchids. Its not often a royal bouquet has anything other that white. The main trail of the bouquet was made from ivy and Stephanotis. This would have been a labour intensive bridal bouquet created by Longmans (The same florist that made the Queens) Each individual stephanotis flower would have been individually hand wired. I image it would been a weight to carry. It’s size did correlate with the size of her dress, She would of looked out of proportion wearing her big dress carrying a bouquet like Kate’s. The 1970’s saw brides carrying small designs, Diana it seems started what became the bridal bouquet trend of the 1980’s- big and beautiful! The style we now call the ‘Shower bouquet’ is still seen almost 40 years later with modern brides.

 

Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles, 2005: lily of the valley and yellow, purple and white primroses with a sprig of myrtle

Camilla chose a petit wired design with the unusual choice of primroses amongst the traditional Lily of the Valley and Myrtle. Maybe this is to reflect her quirky side that is usually left out of the headlines.

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall, 2011 : Calla Lily, Green Thistle, Lily of the Valley, Myrtle, Hydrangea and Senecio

Zara chose a round hand tied bouquet, which is typical of the modern day bride. This could have been a nod to the fact that she has no royal title. She also chose more usual wedding flowers with a little nod to Scotland in the pale green thistle. For a July wedding she has very wintery vibes in her silver/ grey foliage choice

Kate Middleton and Prince William, 2011: Lily of the valley, Sweet William, Hyacinths, Myrtle.

Kate’s bouquet was at the complete opposite end of the floral spectrum in comparison to Diana’s. Kates bouquet was dainty, petite and full of significance. With the traditional Lily of the Valley and Myrtle. It was also paired with Hyacinths and Sweet William- How sweet!! This royal bouquet was fully wired and would of filled Westminster Abbey with a sweet scent! Kate really did choose a design that reflected her rather than any trends going on within the industry.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, 2018

Her bouquet will be mostly white and will include Peonies, Garden Roses, Lily of the Valley, Astrantia, Ranunculus and Sweet Peas. There will of course be the touch of Myrtle as all past royal bouquets have had, The Myrtle is cut from the same plant used for Queen Victoria’s Bouquet. Tradition would depict that Meghan’s bouquet will be a petite wired design, although we believe she will break the mould! A bouquet of British blooms would see her carry a round shaped bouquet, but larger and looser to really show off the flowers. We believe it will still be wired but with the style emulating an essence of Diana’s bouquet from her marriage to Charles. Possibly even with a flowing trail of delicate foliage’s as she keeps up with recent trends.The Large Peony, Ranunculus and Garden Roses will give a full feel. By mixing the Lily of the Valley, Astrantia and Sweet Peas the bouquet will have a wilder look, but with just the right amount of luxury.

However, the royal bouquets really do reflect the style of the bride. There is no set recipe, no “How to create a royal bouquet”. Just like any bride it’s a combination of the florists skill and the brides vision. We do typically see wired designs for Royal brides rather than a hand tied design with exposed stems. This is because it’s a much neater and tidier way of presenting flowers. It also limits the chance of green stains of white gowns. 

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