Your wedding bouquet is one of the most important staple pieces as you walk down the aisle on your big day. Paired with your stunning dress and complementing your decor, your bouquet is truly a way to make a statement. After all, it's the last thing you'll carry before your wedding ring is placed on your finger. And while there are countless possibilities out there for stunning bouquets, there's something to be said about pulling inspiration from gorgeous, timeless options as well.
A tradition dating back to the mid-1800s, British royal brides usually carry myrtle in their bridal bouquet, and we love this time-honored addition. The tradition stems from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's 1840 wedding, when the Queen carried myrtle—known as the herb of love—in her bouquet. Following the ceremony, Victoria planted a myrtle shrub in her garden at the Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, and since then, every British royal bride since has carried a bouquet containing a sprig plucked from the same shrub.
Throughout history, royal brides have both followed their predecessors' traditions, as well as created some of their own. And each option is just as stunning as the last. Read on for some of the most iconic bouquets belonging to the world's royal brides, as well as the history behind some of the most interesting wedding bouquet traditions.
Queen Victoria started the tradition of carrying myrtle in the royal bride's bouquet at her wedding in 1840. Using a cutting from her own bouquet, she planted a garden of myrtle bushes on the east facade of Fulham Palace. Since then, every bride in the family line has incorporated myrtle in some aspect of their bouquet.
Mary of Teck
Mary of Teck married the future King George V (Queen Victoria's grandson and Queen Elizabeth's grandfather) in 1893. The bride was said to have walked down the aisle carrying a bouquet of Provence roses, orchids, and orange blossoms. Her bridesmaids carried similar bouquets and wore roses in their hair.
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married the Duke of York in 1923. Her wedding bouquet included lily of the valley and roses—but as you may notice, it's missing from her wedding photos.
Before the ceremony, Lady Elizabeth had her bouquet placed on The Grave of the Unknown Warrior as she entered Westminster Abbey, which Westminster Abbey believes was done to commemorate her brother Fergus Bowes-Lyon, who died during the Battle of Loos in 1915. As a result, this began an unofficial tradition for subsequent brides to have their bouquets sent back to the Abbey after their wedding ceremonies to be placed on the grave. Queen Elizabeth II followed this tradition after tying the knot in 1947. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, did the same after marrying Prince Andrew, Duke of York, in 1986. Kate Middleton even followed this tradition after her 2011 nuptials.
Prior to their divorce, Wallis Simpson's wedding to the Duke of Windsor at the Château de Candé in France in 1937 was filled with florals. Though the bride is not seen carrying a bouquet in her wedding photos, the ceremony featured stunning floral arrangements, which were designed and created by Constance Fry as a gift to Wallis.
Queen Elizabeth's 1947 nuptials to Prince Philip were lavish, but like any other wedding, not everything went according to plan. According to The Telegraph, the Queen's orchid-filled bouquet was misplaced right before the wedding. Despite being personally delivered to Buckingham Palace, the bouquet went missing sometime between the newlyweds' return to the palace and the wedding breakfast. Thus, the Queen was left empty-handed for her wedding photos.
The florist created a replica and the royal couple recreated some shots from their wedding later on, but since then, royal florists have learned from the mistake, always creating a replica bouquet just in case.
American actress Rita Hayworth tied the knot with Prince Aly Khan on May 27, 1949 at Khan's Riviera Chateau de L'Horizon. The bride carried a simple bouquet of white flowers that matched her equally modest wedding outfit.
Grace Kelly's 1956 nuptials to Prince Rainier III of Monaco featured a bouquet as stunning as her iconic wedding dress. The Princess of Monaco carried a small bouquet made of lily of the valley and a small Bible for her walk down the aisle. The Bible was given to the bride as a gift and covered in silk faille from the MGM wardrobe department and featured a lace appliqué overlay, embellished with seed pearls.
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
The Princess of the Netherlands sported a bouquet of white eucharis and lily of the valley, which was in season for her spring nuptials in 1966. The floral arrangements were created and designed by Dutch designer Abel Verheijen, who later became famous throughout Europe for his art.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark
A princess at the time of her wedding, Queen Margrethe of Denmark carried a bouquet of daisies down the aisle in 1967 and had the flower placed in her bridesmaids' hair as well. The bloom had particular significance to the bride, as "Daisy" was a nickname for the Princess. She also wore a daisy-shaped diamond brooch on her wedding dress.
Maybe the most iconic royal bride of the century, Princess Diana and her 1981 wedding look has been the inspiration for countless bridal trends over the past few decades. Princess Diana's cascading bouquet was as grand as every other aspect of her nuptials. The floral arrangement was made up of gardenias, stephanotis, odontolglossum orchids, lily of the valley, earl mountbatten roses, freesia, veronica, ivy, trasdescantia, and—you guessed it—myrtle. The late Princess set the trend for an overflowing bouquet look for brides-to-be for years to come.
Queen Rania of Jordan
When Queen Rania of Jordan married King Abdullah II in 1993, she opted for a bouquet made up of more fresh greenery than florals featuring notes of white and yellow to match her white and gold gown.
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece
Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece married Prince Pavlos in 1995. She carried an elegant nosegay bouquet of white blooms, followed by her flower girls who each carried a single white rose during the procession.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
Princess Mette-Marit of Norway's 2001 wedding bouquet was anything but traditional. Not only did she forego the typical white blooms, but even the vine-like shape of her bouquet was out of the ordinary. The arrangement consisted of purple and pale blooms (called brudeloperen) and was designed by the bride herself, along with the help of floral director Aina Nyberget Kleppe of Oslo.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
Crown Princess Mary married Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004. The bride, a native of Tasmania, chose to carry an elegant cascade bouquet of antique roses, stephanotis, azaleas, and spirea. The bouquet also featured hints of eucalyptus, which was flown in from Australia to pay homage to her homeland.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
For Prince Charles' second wedding in 2005, bride Camilla Parker Bowles carried a small posy consisting of lily of the valley and yellow, purple, and white primroses with a sprig of myrtle. According to The Telegraph, the bouquet was sent to her as a gift by a well-wisher from Cornwall.
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden opted for a cascade bouquet for her 2010 wedding, which included lily of the valley, orchids, clematis, peonies, roses, and gardenias.
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge
Though Kate's bouquet was small, it fit perfectly with her elegant wedding day look. When the Duchess of Cambridge walked down the aisle in 2011, she carried a small, wired posy—designed by Shane Connolly—made of lily of the valley, sweet william, hyacinth, and myrtle. Following the ceremony, the bride left her bouquet in Westminster Abbey at The Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Princess Charlene of Monaco
At her 2011 wedding to Prince Albert II of Monaco, Charlene Wittstock carried a chic teardrop bouquet designed by Giorgio Armani and assembled by the groom's gardeners. The arrangement featured hints of cream and white flowers, which looked flawless against her Armani wedding dress.
Stéphanie, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg
When Stéphanie de Lannoy married Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume in 2012, she walked down the aisle carrying a cascading bouquet of white orchids, created by Maison Lachaume. The bouquet perfectly complemented the ceremony's decor, consisting of nearly 3,000 blooms that filled Our Lady of Luxembourg cathedral.
Princess Madeleine of Sweden
Princess Madeleine of Sweden opted for a classic, round bouquet of white garden roses for her 2013 wedding to Christopher Paul O'Neill. The arrangement consisted of a variety of flowers, including Austin roses, schneewittchen, Winchester Cathedral, alabaster, lily of the valley, and sprigs of myrtle.
Princess Sofia of Sweden
Princess Sofia of Sweden chose a unique bouquet for her wedding to Prince Carl Philip in 2015—a round cluster of colorful coral and cream garden roses. The Princess didn't forget tradition, though. Sprigs of myrtle were included in the arrangement, brought by Princess Margaret of Connaught. Swedish brides have also upheld the tradition of myrtle accents in their bouquets since 1935.
Meghan Markle's simple posy of white flowers was extra special. According to the palace, Prince Harry himself picked a handful of flowers from the couple’s private garden at Kensington Palace to add to the bride's bouquet, which also contained scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia, that traditional sprig of myrtle, and forget-me-nots—Princess Diana's favorite flowers. After meeting Prince Harry at the altar, she handed her bouquet off to a bridesmaid and it was later placed on The Grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Princess Eugenie's bouquet was a mixture of traditional elements with a pop of color to celebrate the season. Handcrafted by Rob Van Helden, it featured lily of the valley, trailing iris and ivy, blue thistles, and white spray roses, incorporating elements to match the emeralds in Princess Eugenie's tiara and playing on the seasonal colors of her fall wedding.