While yesterday was the couple's big day, Meghan Markle totally stole the show. In addition to her stunning Givenchy wedding gown, the royal bride donned another major accessory: her bouquet!
The royal bride carried a simple posy down the aisle to her groom—a bundle of white flowers, tied together in a clean arrangement. After meeting Prince Harry at the altar, she handed off the bouquet to one of her bridesmaids. And it had an extra special touch: a few flowers were handpicked by her husband(!!!).
The day before their royal wedding, Prince Harry picked a handful of flowers from the couple’s private garden at Kensington Palace. He gave them to the royal wedding florist, Philippa Craddock, to be added to the bride's bouquet. But that wasn't the only meaningful aspect of the bouquet. The posy also had a tribute to Princess Diana. The florist included forget-me-nots in the bunch, which were Diana’s favorite flowers. According to Kensington Palace, the inclusion of forget-me-nots was specifically to honor Diana’s memory on the couple’s wedding day.
According to the palace, the bouquet included scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, and astrantia, with sprigs of myrtle all bound with a naturally dyed, raw silk ribbon.
After her ceremony and reception, Markle honored yet another royal tradition, one that her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, also followed on her own wedding day. Over the past century, many royal brides have chosen to place their wedding bouquets on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Kensington Palace recently announced that Markle followed suit, writing in a tweet, "The Duchess of Sussex has sent the bouquet she carried during yesterday's #RoyalWedding to Westminster Abbey to rest on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior."
This practice originated in 1923, when Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married the Duke of York with a bouquet of lilies of the valley and white roses in hand. Prior to walking down the aisle, Lady Elizabeth had her bouquet placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 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. This started an unofficial tradition for subsequent brides, many of whom had their bouquets sent back to the Abbey after the wedding ceremonies to be placed on the tomb.
But the bride's bouquet has more history than what meets the eye. In addition to the flowers and plants specific to Markle's bouquet, there is one flower in particular in her arrangement that is part of a longstanding tradition of royal bouquets: myrtle flowers. British royal brides usually carry myrtle in their bridal bouquet, and we believe Meghan has followed suit. This long-lasting royal wedding tradition comes 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. Since then, every British royal bride since has carried a bouquet containing a sprig plucked from the same shrub.
In March, Kensington Palace announced that Craddock would be creating floral arrangements for the royal couple's celebration. Craddock, along with a team of assistant florists, are said to have used locally sourced flowers (some even taken directly from the grounds of the Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park) to decorate the ceremony. The couple opted for a pink and white color scheme, and Craddock said that she would try to select flowers and plants that are in season, such as white garden roses, foxgloves, and peonies—which happen to be Meghan's favorite flower! In addition, they also planned to use branches of beech, birch, and hornbeam for the event.