Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Catch Up Blog Post

It has been some days since the last post, just wanted to check in and catch up. My Mother has been ill this past couple of days, so I haven't been home in the evenings, out of town really and at the hospital a lot. I am sure things are going to be o.k.
I have some really faithful followers, and I wanted them to have something new to read when they stop in.
The pic today is one of the daughters of Lord Louis Mountbatten, he was uncle to Prince Fillip and a cousin to the queen. So sorry to post a pic without the backup research, but I find myself away from my research materials, I promise to post again soon with more info on the people in this picture. However, easy to spot is the Queen Mother seated to the left of the bride. The flowers, I think it looks like a nosegay of all lily of the valley and maybe gypsophilia (baby's breath, yuck) or some similar small white flower. and the little bridesmaids are all wearing floral crowns and carrying very small nosegays of the same flower.
Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... in this picture... double click on the image to see a very closeup version... that is Princess Anne and Prince Charles, both seated on the floor to the far right lower corner of the photo.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

After St. Valentine's Day

Technically it's not Spring yet, but, even down here in the south we are pushing it after such a cold winter. The best way that I like to bring Spring on is to select and arrange some great flowers of my own. Our local market had a great selection of roses, even after Valentines Day... normally the stock is very depleted after that rush for flowers for your sweetheart, but, I found to wonderful selections. First, the exquisite "Twinkle Bride" standard size rose whose color varies from rich cream, to the palest green and to a blush pink at the edges. Great strong straight stems and very few thorns. I decided on a more contemporary arrangement in a rectangular glass vase, and used a gathering of Kiwi vine to anchor the arrangement. The next flower I found was a very bright bunch of hot-pink spray roses, although the variety wasn't labeled on the package, I don't have a name to tell you for these. In any case both these arrangements have brought the joy of an early spring into our house. And, I have fun making the arrangements.
Sorry for the gap in blog posts. Last week was a busy week and weekend. Something to do every night of the week, plus, I helped out at a local flower shop. So, it was red roses, red roses, and more red roses in what seemed like an endless line of vases, greenery and roses walking out the door. It left me exhausted, but a good exhausted as it is work I love to do. Hope to be back in the swing of things with more Royal photos to post, and more flower commentary. But, now that spring is in the air, there may just be more posts about the flower arrangements I have created for us here at home to enjoy... I promise to share the pics with you all.
Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day... Although Queen Elizabeth's engagement ring, designed and given to her by Prince Philip, is not nearly the largest diamond or composition of diamonds in her jewel collection... however, it is said to be her favorite piece of jewelry. Awww, isn't that sweet?
Photo Credits: ME!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cousin of the Queen - Mary Whitley

First off Happy Valentine's Day to everyone... sorry for the absence, I have been working pretty hard the past week, and the blog posts just weren't coming. We've had a lot going on, with the Olympics starting and a freak snow fall here in the south, I was more than occupied in the evenings when I usually do my blogging.

Many thanks to Stan for his gift to me last year on Valentine's Day, a subscription to Majesty, a wonderful monthly magazine concerning news and history of the royal families of the world. What a treasure trove of information is has been, and so very helpful in maintaining my blog.

The picture today is a great shot of a royal wedding bouquet. This couple is Mary and Peter Whitley. Mary was second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, and Peter served at one time as a member of the world famous Grenadier Guards (the guards in red tunics and bear skin hats that guard Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace in London, as well as serving in combat on the front lines).

Mary served as bridesmaid to the Queen at her wedding to Prince Phillip in 1947. Mary's father was Prince George of Teck, brother of Queen Mary, the current Monarch's grandmother.

Her flowers... I really do wish that brides today would be interested in bouquets like this, not only for their beauty but for the challenge of the artist/floral designer that would be charged with creating such an intricate floral piece literally hours before the wedding. The bouquet is a classic cascade style and appears to contain roses, Lily of the Valley, carnations, orchids, stephanotis, and gardenias. Near the tail end of the bouquet, it is very easy to see the wired and white tape construction. I guarantee you this one was not going to fall apart, nor leak water on to the bride's gown.

Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... before Mary was Elizabeth's bridesmaid in 947, they both served together as bridesmaids at the wedding of the Duke of Gloucester and Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott in 1935... at that wedding, the both carried nosegays of pink roses.

Photo Credit: "Mary Whitley", by Robert Golden, "Majesty", February, 2010, pg. 32.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More on Princess May of Teck

In her life, Princess May of Teck held many royal titles and roles. First as Princess May (a nickname after the month in which she was born), then, Duchess of York. Later, Princess of Wales, then Queen consort, finally, dowager Queen after the death of her husband, King George V, during the reigns of two of her sons, King Edward VIII (abdicated) and King George VI, finally, during the reign of her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The photo here is of her and the Duke of York on their wedding day, July 6th, 1893. The wedding took place at the Chapel Royal, St. James Palace, London. The flowers here are quite abundant, even though her bouquet is not shown, I have read that Princess May's bridal flowers were white lilies and white roses. The bridesmaids are carrying cascading bouquets of roses and other white flowers, as well, the bride and her attendants have flowers attached to their dresses and in their hair. Lots of royal wedding flowers here.
Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day... Also married at the Chapel Royal, St. Jame's Palace, London... Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, on Feb. 10th, 1840.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another Missing Bridal Bouquet

Another very well dressed out royal wedding party. Nothing like having the bridesmaids really coordinate! Interestingly enough there was no worry given to the fact that the bridesmaids wearing veils wouldn't set the bride apart. However, the bridal gown here is floor-lenght, and the train is visibly very long, so, there is the difference... so much for bride's maids not being allowed to wear white. This is the wedding of Princess Mary (daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, formerly Princess May of Teck) and Viscount Lascelles, later titled the Earl of Harewood. This wedding took place on February 28th, 1922. Interestingly enough, here is another royal bride without her bridal bouquet... so, what happened to it? Like the Duchess of York (The Queen Mother) and Princess Elizabeth (QE II), Princess Mary's bouquet is absent from the portrait taken in the throne room at Buckingham Palace. I would think that possibly it was left at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey, but, from what I have read, that tradition wasn't started until a year later in 1923, when the Duchess of York (Queen Mother) left her bouquet at the tomb in memory of her brother who died in World War I. In any event, without the bouquet, there are still plenty of flowers in this portrait. It looks like the bridesmaids are carrying classic 1920's waterfall/cascade style. It's really hard to tell what the flowers are from this picture, so I am going to assume that some roses are in there, along with plenty of plumosus fern for the waterfall/cascade effect.
Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day ... Princess May of Teck, later Queen Mary was initially engaged to Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avandale, but just weeks after their engagement, Prince Albert died of pneumonia... Queen Victoria encouraged a match between Princess May and Albert's younger brother George. George became King George V. Princess Mary became wife of a king, mother of two kings, Edward VIII and George VI, and grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II... whew!
Photo Credit: A Royal Family Album From The Days Of Queen Victoria to H.R.H. Prince Charles of Edingurgh, by Marguerite D. Peacocke, Pitkin Pictorials Ltd., 1948.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fancy Shmancy... and just homemade

It's one of those grey winter weekends, and what I find takes my mind off of there being another couple of months of winter ahead is to bring a little spring-time into the house. So, the just home-made centerpiece to the left is one I threw together today. We are fortunate to have a Fresh Market here, that maintains a very good selection of fresh-cut flowers. So, to drive away the winter blahs, I made this spring centerpiece of Jade roses and very fragrant purple stock... just the ticket, especially since we are having guest for dinner tonight. What a contrast to the ultra "fancy schmancy" floral arrangements in Queen Elizabeth's wedding photo. All the bridesmaids carried very elaborate cascading bouquets of many varieties of orchids. I imaging there were several Longman's Ltd. employees up all night wiring and taping the flowers for these quite detailed bouquets. Also, each bridesmaid is wearing a coronet of bouvardia... still more wiring and taping. So, flowers can bring joy and amazement in many forms, from the very simply homemade centerpiece to the very elaborate and intricate wired cascade bouquet.
Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day... On her wedding day, Princess Margaret was escorted up the aisle or "given away" by her brother-in-law, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh... since the princess's father, King George IV, died in 1952. Princess Margaret married Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Flowers of Diamonds

What's royalty without some diamonds? Well, a little side track from wedding flowers tonight, I wanted to feature one of the most beautiful pieces in the Queen's jewel collection. The George the IV Diadem was created by London jeweler at the direction of George IV, for his coronation in 1830. It turns out the he ended up not wearing it at all. I have read that many deemed this crown to feminine for the King. However, following Monarchs have put it to good use. Victoria wore it often, then Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, The Queen Mother, and the current, Queen Elizabeth II. It is said to be the most recognizable of the royal jewels, mostly because it is the crown that the current Queen is wearing on the postage stamps and many denominations of currency throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. The frame is gold and silver, two bands of pearls make up the circlet. There are four crosses pattee, the forward cross is centered with a rare yellow toned diamond. The other decorations are clusters of shamrocks, thistles, and roses, traditional symbols of Ireland, Scotland, and England.

Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day .... Both Princess Elizabeth (QEII) and Princess Anne wore The "Diamond Fringe Tiara" affixed to their veils on their wedding day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Always A Bridesmaid...

Two great pictures here today. Both feature the current British monarch in her childhood, the Princess Elizabeth of York. Yes, the Queen did her service many times as a bridesmaid. One the left the wedding of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester to Lady Alice Scott. Here, the future Queen carries a very generous nosegay of all roses, the adult attendants are carrying very large cascades of the same roses, while the bride carries a large and lush somewhat crescent shaped bouquet of all white flowers, I think I see some white Antherium in there with what must be a collection of various orchid varieties. This wedding took place in November 1935.
Second, the picture on the right, the future Queen again acts as attendant to a royal bride, this time, at the wedding of her uncle the Duke of Kent to Princess Marina of Greece in November 1934. King George V and Queen Mary are present in both photos. Princess Marina is the only carrying flowers here, a very simple, but impressive arm bouquet of all white longeflorum lilies, tied with a wide white ribbon with it's own floral cluster accent.
November was a very popular month for Royal Weddings in those days, as Princess Elizabeth herself would be married in November of 1947.
Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day...Like Princess Victoria, Princess Royal and daughter of Queen Victoria, ... Princess Elizabeth used the ever popular "Wedding March" by Mendelssohn as the recessional during their wedding ceremonies.
Photo Credit: "A Royal Family Album From The Days of Queen Victoria To H.R.H. Prince Charles of Edinburgh", pictorial booklet, 1948, Pitkin Pictorials Ltd.

Another "not British" Royal Wedding

Here we have a royal wedding from the European continent... that of Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, in Madrid, Spain, May 22, 2004. Just as classy and beautiful as a British royal wedding. The gown is incredible, but of course not garish or inappropriate, and the groom's attire, again appropriate for his military rank and standing in the Spanish royal family.

THE FLOWERS - carried by the bride...a beautiful bouquet of white lilies and other white flowers, that are a little difficult to identify... I have posted two photos today, and maybe some of my blog followers can help me identify the mystery flowers. I think they may be Lily of the Valley, but, from these photos, it is hard to tell. Also, in the first photo... since it shows the back of the bouquet, you can see the wire and taping construction technique that was used. Wheat stalks have been included (a traditional floral symbol of fertility). In addition, I really appreciate the use of the gold ribbon to tie off the bouquet. It serves as a contrast and disconnect between the all white flowers and the white gown. But, the gold ribbon is a wonder coordinating compliment to the gold gowns of the attendants. Bravo and well done!.. to the designer who put together the floral look for this wedding.

Strangely, the bridesmaids are not carrying flowers at all. I wonder if this is particular to weddings in Spain possibly? Someone educate me on this tradition or lack there of. But, notice the wonderful columns of flowers attached to the stone columns of the cathedral... all white, I am assuming lilies and roses and some other long lasting and hearty flowers. I shutter at the thought of the mechanics and time that went into those arrangements. But, the effect is spectacular.

Royal Wedding Tidbit of the day ... Prince Felipe is next in line to the Spanish Throne; his father Juan Carlos is the current reigning Spanish monarch. This wedding took place with extremely high security in place, as the terrorist train bombings in Madrid had taken place just two months before the wedding.

Photo Credit: People: "The Royals, Their Lives, Loves, and Secrets"- People Specials - 2005.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Off the Isle - Royal Wedding in Jordan

We are taking a trip off the British Isle, in fact out of Europe to the Middle East for today's blog post. To the left, a wedding day picture of King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan. Their wedding took place on June 15, 1978. The bride wore a very simple white gown, but carried an elegant cascade of white Phaelenopsis orchids and trailing plumosus fern. I love this bouquet for it's simplicity, and for the fact that the construction of the bouquet would be incredibly simple. The orchids themselves, the way they grow on their stems truly lends itself to a longer draping cascade form. These orchids are extremely delicate to begin with and being able to leave them on their original stem is beneficial to keeping the orchids protected. When wiring these orchids for corsages or boutonnieres, there is a tricky process of getting the tape covered wire in and around the very, very delicate stamen and anther areas. I have found that wiring individual blooms with white chaneele stems (pipe-cleaners) is the safest way. If using regular wire, then the lightest gauge will be necessary as to avoid damage to the orchid's large but terribly light weight petals.
Royal Wedding tidbit of the day... I, personally had the privilege of creating floral arrangements for Queen Noor of Jordan, while working at Floramor Studios in San Francisco, CA. The floral arrangements we accents to the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The Queen was there to greet Jordanian nationals, her step-son's subjects, then living in California. It was an honor, and very exciting... my closest Royal Incident to date.
Photo Credit: People, "The Royals, Their Lives, Loves, and Secrets", People Specials - 2005.