The hidden meanings behind royal wedding bouquets

Much is said about royal wedding dresses, but what about the bouquets? They carry just as much significance and meaning as the details in the dress and other accessories, so the experts at Flying Flowers have dug into the meanings behind some of the most iconic royal wedding bouquets of recent history.

Queen Elizabeth II

queen Elizabeth II wedding
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For her wedding to Prince Phillip in 1947, the future Queen chose a delicate wedding bouquet packed with significance, made up of white orchids and a very special homegrown sprig of myrtle.

Sandra Varley at Flying Flowers said that myrtle has significance for royal brides. ‘Queen Victoria was given a sprig of myrtle by Albert’s grandmother and this was propagated into a bush at Osbourne House. The first time it was used in a royal wedding bouquet was Princess Victoria – Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.’

Princess Diana

princess Diana wedding
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When Princess Diana married Prince Charles in 1981, her bouquets were made up of gardenias, stephanotis, lily of the valley, freesia and myrtle. The inclusion of stephanotis is a symbol of marital happiness dating back to the Victorian era and is thought to represent ‘good fortune’ and ‘the longing to travel’.

Diana was also the first royal to have not one but two bouquets on her wedding day. According to Diana’s chief florist David Longman, this was inspired by the Queen herself. The reason is believed to be that the Queen lost her bouquet during her wedding to Prince Phillip, so to avoid this happening again to future royal brides, it became tradition to have a spare bouquet made.

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton wedding
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Kate’s bouquet for her wedding to Prince William in 2011 was traditional and simple and included both the royal family’s and the Middletons’ favourite stems. The bouquet, which was made up exclusively of white flowers, was designed to have symbolic meaning. The bouquet featured lily of the valley, which is often used by brides as it signifies ‘purity’, as well as hyacinths, which represent steady love, ivy for fidelity and friendship and myrtle, the emblem of matrimony.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Meghan markle wedding
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Meghan’s understated bouquet for her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018 held significance for both herself and the royal family. It contained flowers from the Royal Gardens, as is traditional for royal wedding bouquets. The flowers chosen included sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia and a few flowers which were hand-picked by Harry from the couple’s private garden at Kensington Palace.

The arrangement paid tribute to Princess Diana by including forget-me-nots, which were her favourite flower, and it included a cut of myrtle from the same plant as the Queen’s bouquet.

Princess Eugenie

princess eugenie wedding
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Also in 2018, Princess Eugenie wed Jack Brooksbank, opting for a classic royal wedding arrangement with a personal twist. It featured that royal favourite, lily of the valley, to convey purity, while the added personal touch of white spray roses, blue eryngium thistle, trailing iris and ivy were believed to be a homage to her and Jack Brooksbank’s home, Ivy Cottage.

Princess Beatrice

princess Beatrice wedding
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Princess Beatrice married Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020. Her floral bouquet broke from tradition in that it included colour, consisting of pale pink and cream sweet peas, baby pink astilbes, royal porcelain ivory spray roses, pink O’Hara garden roses, trailing jasmine and pink waxflower. She did however keep the royal tradition of adding a sprig of myrtle.