When Prince William and Kate Middleton said “I do” on April 29, 2011, the royal couple transformed Westminster Abbey into an organic oasis. How? With four tons of foliage in the form of living trees. Now, 11 years later, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are still enjoying the very same maples that decorated the Central London venue; after the big day, the trees were planted at a Welsh estate that William and Kate recently inherited from King Charles, the Daily Mail reports.
Two months after the royal pair tied the knot, six of the small trees that lined their wedding aisle were planted at the 192-acre Llwynywermod estate in Carmarthenshire. According to the Daily Mail, William and Kate were given the property following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. At the time of the wedding, the now-King Charles owned the property and decided it would be a good idea to replant the trees at the farmhouse, an idea that William and Kate are said to have approved of.
After 11 years, the trees now tower over the topiaried parterre-style garden, which was just a hedge when they were first planted. And the foliage isn’t done growing either. The maple trees, which are native to Britain, are expected to reach 50 feet and last for 200 years.
The Duke and Duchess selected the maple trees for their big day because they complemented the “medieval ethos” of the Abbey, according to Shane Connolly, artistic director of flowers for the royal nuptials. Maple is also linked to long-standing wedding traditions. The wood material formed the basis of two-handled loving cups, which were often used at weddings. Additionally, wood represents humility and reserve, the Daily Mail reports.
Although William and Kate’s natural wedding aesthetic reflected their vision, they weren’t able to call all of the shots on the big day. The Daily Mail notes that Prince William wasn’t able to select his attire for the occasion. Instead, the Queen had the final say. “I wanted to decide what to wear for the wedding,” he says. “I was given a categorical ‘No, you’ll wear this!’” As it turns out, William wanted to wear his Irish Guards frock coat, Express reports, but since William was appointed colonel of the regiment two months before he wed Kate, Queen Elizabeth decided that he would sport the red tunic.
Although it wasn’t what he initially had in mind, William understood and accepted the decision. “So, you don’t always get what you want, put it that way,” he explains. “But, I knew perfectly well that it was for the best. That ‘no’ is a very good ‘no,’ so you just do as you’re told. We had a couple of discussions on this matter, but as I learnt growing up, you don’t mess with your grandmother.”
Even though William wasn’t able to choose what to wear, he was able to make some adjustments to the Irish guards colonel’s uniform. Since the prince expressed concerns about the temperature at his wedding, he had sweat pads added under the arms and some of the padding removed to make the suit more breathable and lightweight. “He was very aware of the heat factor in the Abbey because he knew all the lights would make it very hot,” company chairman Russell Kashket tells the Daily Mail. “We worked together to get the look he wanted, while making sure he didn’t pass out in front of two billion people.”
The jacket that William donned was made from scratch, using pure wool melton and real gold spun into the fabric. The gold-plated buttons that decorated the uniform were made using a hand press. The outfit might not have been William's first choice, but it has become an iconic and easily recognizable garment in royal wedding fashion history.