Here’s the Secret Ritual Every Royal Bride Performs on Her Wedding Day

This romantic gesture dates back to Queen Victoria.

Here’s the Secret Ritual Every Royal Bride Performs on Her Wedding Day
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Royal weddings are full of grand traditions, and while Meghan Markle is intent on doing things her way when she marries Prince Harry on May 19th at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor, there is one romantic gesture that dates back to Queen Victoria that she’s embracing like all the other brides who married into the House of Windsor. Among what is sure to be an abundant bouquet of peonies (her favorite), roses, and other flowers from the grounds of Windsor Castle, Meghan will also be carrying the flower myrtle. The simple white bloom has been included in royal bridal bouquets for the past 173 years.

“Meghan is working closely with the Queen herself to ensure she is following important royal wedding traditions and honoring the family’s history,” said my source. “She is really enjoying being part of something so special and historic.”

Myrtle is a white evergreen shrub that has glossy foliage and an aromatic white flower and yellow berries. The Victorians believed it to be a symbol of fidelity in marriage. It is still thought to bring good luck at weddings. Back in 1840, when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, she is believed to have had a spring of myrtle in her wedding bouquet. Later, she was given a posy of myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother during a visit to England.

The Queen then had the myrtle planted in the garden of her new home, Osborne House, in the Isle Of Wight. It still grows there today.

Royal brides continued the tradition of carrying the flower in the years that followed. Then-Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth II, had a sprig added to her bouquet of white flowers. She then planted that sprig after the wedding and a second royal myrtle tree grew whose flowers are now used in modern bouquets.

Princess Diana then used a spring from the Osborne House myrtle, as well as yellow “Mountbatten” roses, in honor of Prince Charles’ great uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten. When it came around to Kate Middleton’s wedding, she used two springs of the myrtle—one from Queen Victoria’s source and another from Queen Elizabeth’s. She also carried Sweet William, in honor of her new husband Prince William.

Floral designer Philippa Craddock will join a team of florists from St. George’s Chapel and Buckingham Palace to create Meghan’s bouquet and the floral displays for the royal wedding next month. The designs will include locally sourced foliage and have flowers and plants that are in season during May.

“Meghan has always loved flowers and the flowers on her wedding day will be elegant and romantic,” said my source. “St. George’s Chapel will be transformed into a wonderland.” And for more up-to-the-minute coverage of the royal wedding, don’t miss how Meghan Markle’s Family Just Lashed Out at her in a Major Way. 

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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