With its medieval Gothic architecture and its connection to the royals, Westminster Abbey is one of the most notable churches in all of London. Since its inception in 960 A.D., the iconic religious building has hosted a whopping 16 royal weddings, according to the Abbey's website. More recently, Kate Middleton and Prince William chose the venue for their 2011 nuptials. The Princess of Wales took a stroll down memory lane and revisited the special spot where she said “I do” to prepare for the second annual Christmas carol concert that she and Will hosted on Thursday, December 15, 2022.
On Tuesday, December 20, 2022, the official Instagram accounts of Westminster Abbey and the Queen’s Green Canopy revealed that the day before the concert, the princess planted a wild cherry tree in Dean’s Yard outside of the building to honor Queen Elizabeth II. Both entities share photos of Kate shoveling dirt around the new plant, which replaced a rotting horse chestnut tree. Beside the tree, a plaque reads, “This wild cherry tree, a gift from the Duchy of Cornwall, was dedicated in memory to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales on 14th December 2022.”
Based on the Instagram posts, the tree planting ceremony is part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, an initiative that aims to plant over one million trees across the nation to celebrate the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee. When Kate showed up to the site, the dean, the Very Reverend Dr. David Hoyle, members of the Chapter of Westminster, the Abbey’s head gardener, Jan Pancheri, and other gardeners Cormac Connolly and Danny Bitten, welcomed her, according to People. For the outdoor tree planting ceremony, the princess stayed warm (and stylish) in a blue and green tartan plaid double-breasted coat by Holland Cooper. She paired the jacket with a green turtleneck and navy boots.
Not only does Westminster Abbey hold a special place in Kate’s heart, but it was also a sentimental site for the Queen Elizabeth. Just like Will and Kate, the late queen was married at this historic property. She tied the knot with Prince Philip on November 20, 1947, at the Abbey, and her coronation in 1953 also occurred at the Gothic religious building. Throughout her time as queen, the monarch returned to the church time and time again for various services. When Elizabeth passed away in September of 2022, her funeral took place on the same grounds.
The Abbey was also the wedding venue of choice for Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson 1986 nuptials and Princess Anne and Mark Phillips’s vow swap in 1973. The Westminster building has also served the British royal family as their go-to coronation spot since 1066. On May 6, 2023, the coronation of King Charles will take place at the Abbey.