With the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just weeks away, we’re anxiously awaiting what is expected to be the most nontraditional wedding ceremony in British history. However, there are certain traditions Markle will likely follow, including what her wedding bouquet will be made of. It’s been reported that every royal wedding bouquet contains at least one sprig of myrtle, which symbolizes good luck in love and marriage, a tradition dating all the way back to the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840.
In addition to the traditional blooms, the royal family announced in March that white peonies, white garden roses, and white foxgloves will be used in the floral arrangements designed by London-based florist Philippa Craddock. If you’ve spotted a theme that’s because protocol also calls for an all-white bouquet. But bridal bouquets carry a lot of sentiment to a couple, and the royal couple is no exception. Markle has made it clear that she will choose wedding details that have some significance to them while following the centuries-old customs.
The language of flowers, which dates back to the Victorian era, is used to evoke positive and romantic sentiments, explains Lana Elie, founder of Floom.com, who has helped us delve down into the hidden meanings that will make up Markle’s bridal bouquet. Ahead, she shares the symbolism behind the stems we will see at the Royal Wedding on May 19.
Peonies are said to be Markle’s favorite flower, and happily, they’re in season for the spring wedding. “It’s my favorite time of year for the simple reason that beautiful peonies can be found in abundance,” says Elie. “Peonies are often associated with wealth and honor, which are always desirable!” In fact, a lot of people consider the gift of peonies as an omen of good fortune, she explains, adding that this is the reason we celebrate twelve years of marriage as the ‘Peony’ anniversary.
White Garden Rose
One of the most popular wedding flowers, the white rose is associated with innocence, wistfulness, virtue, and purity, explain Elie. The couple has chosen the white rose as a subtle ode to Princess Diana, she adds. It was said to be her favorite flower and can be found in The White Garden at Kensington Palace. “They grow a specific breed there called ‘Desdemona,’ which has the most incredible scent. When it first opens, it’s a peachy-pink color, but it turns soft white in its later days,” she says.
“When it comes to quintessential British wildflowers, the foxglove is one of the oldest in English folklore,” says Elie. “It’s long been associated with fairies, and — you’ve guessed it — glove wearing foxes, as well as confidence and ambition.” They are also said to heal: People use the foxglove as a therapeutic remedy to regulate fast or irregular heartbeats, she notes. “What other plant would be better for calming nerves on their big day?”