Madonna and P. Diddy’s Florist Gives the Royal Wedding Bouquet a Deep Read
Using the Victorian language of flowers, a celebrity florist tells us what the blooms “mean.”
Photograph by Ben Stansall for Getty Images.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at Meghan Markle’s bouquet, I see dedication and prosperity and true love and beauty and unlimited access to a moon garden.
Actually, I don’t—but a truly talented florist might, like Orlando Hamilton, who has done flowers for everyone from Madonna to Mariah Carey to Robbie Williams to Gwyneth Paltrow (which is also my dream dinner party!). “From first glance, Meghan’s bridal bouquet is as understated as her chic couture wedding dress,” Hamilton emailed me shortly after the wedding, referring to her simple Givenchy gown. “On closer inspection, her bouquet includes strong messages from royal tradition and the Victorian language of flowers.” Hamilton decoded the bridal bouquet (which I elaborated on with the help of some very suspicious web resources).
“Meghan’s bridal bouquet contains a sprig of myrtle visible from the top, as is traditional for significant Royal Brides since the time of Queen Victoria,” Hamilton wrote. “It will most likely be from a tree at Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s favorite residence, on the Isle of Wight.” Myrtle, according to my homepage, flowermeaning.com, is often used to symbolize “good luck in love in marriage” as well as “good luck” and “prosperity,” so we definitely don’t have to worry about their financial future. Venus allegedly hid behind a myrtle tree when she paid a nude visit to the Isle of Cytherea, hence its association with love.
Hamilton adds that the bouquet also paid homage Princess Diana with the inclusion of her favorite flower, forget-me-nots. According to flowermeaning.com, the forget-me-not contains multitudes: “true and undying love,” “fidelity and loyalty in a relationship,” “a connection that lasts through time,” “helping patients with Alzheimer’s Disease,” and “honoring the Armenian Genocide.” The flower’s name has a—wait for it—unforgettable origin story: allegedly, a couple was strolling along the Danube when the man offered to pick one for the woman. He was swept away by the Danube River, which apparently has not a single romantic bone in its body, and as he floated away, he told her not to forget him. Also: it’s poisonous.
Next: the bouquet “also has Lily of the Valley, a floral symbol of Love (as in Kate Middleton’s bouquet),” Hamilton wrote. Lily of the valley, according to Hunker.com (sorry that URL is taken), symbolizes “chastity, purity, happiness, lucky, and humility.” It appears in the Song of Solomon, which was both read at the wedding this weekend by Princess Diana’s sister, Lady Jane Fellows, and quoted extensively in Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon. It’s also believed that fairies use its blooms as tiny cups, which is extremely tight. Mad respect to fairies, who are both fanciful and enterprising.
Hamilton pointed out that “the feathery white flowers are ‘Astilbe’ which in the Victorian Language of Flowers signifies Dedication.” The flower is also known as “False Goat’s Beard,” and according to romantic-ideas-online.com (…yes!), means, “I’ll still be waiting.” Wow! To borrow the slogan of romantic-ideas-online.com, life can be a honeymoon.
Sweet peas and jasmine round out the bouquet. Sweet pea flowers, according to AuntyFlo.com, stands for “delicate pleasure, blissful pleasure, departure, goodbye, thank you for the lovely time and adieu,” which is word-for-word what I texted the last guy I broke up with. Jasmine, flowermeaning.com tells us, “is associated with love,” as well as “beauty and sensuality,” and if you are wondering if you should bring some jasmine into your life, “its showy white blooms and heavenly fragrance are ideal for moon gardens where lovers spend time whispering sweet nothings under the stars.”
Lily of the valley, sweet peas, and jasmine, Hamilton added, are all “delicate but exquisitely scented flowers. If you could get close enough to smell it, the scent would be amazing.”
Hamilton also complimented the simple design of the bouquet, which was “gathered together with a simple silk sash. I gather Prince Harry had a hand in choosing the flowers, and most of these grow in the garden at their home at Kensington Palace.” Some wedding prep routines include 21 days of clean eating and hydrocolon therapy and facials and wands that “jolt [your] sluggish face”; perhaps Harry’s included wandering the fields of Kensington Palace to assemble the perfect combination of true and undying love and blissful pleasure and prosperity and humility and a goat’s beard.
All unsavory joking aside, Hamilton is right: the bouquet, like the rest of the wedding, was “a perfect way to mix the formal with the familiar.”