The Duchess of Sussex has followed tradition by having her bridal bouquet placed on the tomb of the unknown warrior at Westminster Abbey in London.
The royal tradition, started by the Queen Mother, usually takes place the day after the wedding.
The petite bouquet carried by Meghan also paid tribute to Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, by including forget-me-nots, her favourite flowers.
The bouquet also contained flowers handpicked by the prince at Kensington Palace: The sweet gesture was made even more poignant by the couple’s flower choice-Prince Harry included Forget-nots they were his mother Diana’s favourite flowers.
Kensington Palace said in a statement:
“The couple specifically chose them to be included in Ms. Markle’s bouquet to honour the memory of the late Princess on this special day.”
The flowers were then bound with a naturally dyed, raw silk ribbon.
The Palace added:
“Prince Harry handpicked several flowers yesterday from their private garden at Kensington Palace to add to the bespoke bridal bouquet designed by florist Philippa Craddock.”
Lily of the valley – the birth flower for May – is said to represent love and appreciation, the astilbe is said to symbolise patience and dedication, and astrantia means strength and courage. Also included were scented sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine and astrantia.
The bouquet was designed by London-based florist Philippa Craddock, who also created the floral displays for St George’s Chapel and St George’s Hall using locally sourced foliage.
Included in the bouquet was a sprig of myrtle- a royal tradition which dates back to the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria. Myrtle symbolises hope and love, making it a fitting addition to any bride’s bouquet, royal or not.
“Many Royal Brides across the generations have chosen to carry a sprig of Myrtle, which represents love, in their bouquets,” reads a recent tweet from the royal family’s official account from earlier in the month. “This tradition dates back to the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s eldest daughter.”
Other British royal brides who have incorporated the bloom in their bouquets are Princess Margaret in 1960, Princess Anne in 1973, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, when she wed Prince Charles in 2005.
The Queen Mother began the tradition of leaving the flowers on the grave in Westminster Abbey in 1923 after her wedding to the Duke of York – who later became King George VI.
The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior- Westminster Abbey
The grave – which is at the west of the Nave of the Abbey – contains the body of a soldier brought back from France after World War One.
The idea is thought to have come from the Reverend David Railton- a chaplain who served at the front during the First World War, after he saw a grave in a back garden in France with just the words “an unknown British soldier” pencilled on. He wanted a lasting tribute to all the soldiers who sacrificed so much.
A large public ceremony took place for the burial, which included King George V laying a wreath of red roses and bay leaves on the coffin. No one- including royalty, is ever permitted to walk on the grave.
The grave is covered by a slab of black Belgian marble and contains a long inscription, including the words:
“They buried him among the kings because he had done good toward God and toward his house.”
Inscription on Tomb Reads:
“Beneath this stone rests the body of a British warrior, unknown by name or rank, brought from France to lie among the most illustrious of the land, and buried here on Armistice Day, 11 November 1920, in the presence of His Majesty King George V, his ministers of state, the chiefs of his forces, and a vast concourse of the nation. Thus are commemorated the many multitudes of who during the Great War of 1914-1918 gave the most that man can give, life itself, for God, for king and country, for loved ones’ home and empire, for the sacred cause of justice, and the freedom of the world. They buried him among the kings because he had done good toward God and toward his house.”
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