Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Duchess of Cambridge's Bouquet - The Royal Replica

Just recently a royal exhibit has opened at Buckingham Palace.  The featured attraction for the summer's tour of the palace is the currently most famous wedding dress in the world, that of The Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton.  Many thousands of advance tickets have been sold, bringing in money to support the renovation and repairs needed at the Palace.

In addition to the dress, other wedding items are on display as well... The Duchess's wedding shoes covered in the same handmade lace as her gown.  The diamond earrings commissioned by her parents as a gift can be seen as well.  The actual wedding cake, with the top three layers replaced, is also on display in the banquet room.  The crowning feature of the gown display is the veil and Cartier tiara that Catherine wore on her wedding day.  Finally, and not at all least important to this blogger... a replica of the bridal bouquet is also on display in the same case with the shoes and the earrings.  The original bouquet's designer, Shane Connolly, has recreated the bouquet in faux flowers.  The replica is so realistic, even this seasoned designer is pressed to see any difference in the two when pictures are compared.

Mr. Connolly has explained that the inspiration for the bouquet was the dress.  The intricate lace detailing of the Catherine's gown lent the suggestion that delicate flowers were needed.  Lily of the Valley, the bouquets main component were chosen for their very delicate features... massed together in what as been described as a "shield" shape with individual Hyacinth florets, delicate white Sweet William, and the ever traditional myrtle foliage always present in royal bouquets, the bouquet is finished quite simply with a small bow and ribbon wrapping on the handle.

With the wonders of the Internet, the identity of the florist for this wedding was well know months before the event.  While doing research on the florist for the royal weddings in the 1980's, there was months of searching and researching through old floral magazines and books.  Then to finding someone at the Worshipful Company of Gardeners that was helpful in getting me connected with David Longman.  Logman was the designer of the bouquets for Diana Spencer and Sarah Ferguson.  Then correspondence by old fashioned mail proved productive.  Now for the past four years, this blogger has been privileged to call Mr. Longman a friend.  He has shared with me the techniques used in Diana's bouquet, and some interesting stories about his involvement with the royal weddings some 30 years ago. 

Now for the next quest.  To contact Mr. Connolly, and ask him some questions about the most recent famous royal bridal bouquet.  It's certain that my search for information will be made much easier considering the massive progress made in information accessibility in the past few years.  It seems that we have known every detail about every aspect concerning the Cambridge's wedding.  I for one am grateful that so much interesting information has been made so accessible to those interested in Royal Weddings. 

If I manage to contact Mr. Connolly or his firm, I will certainly share any interesting pieces of information with my blog followers.

Royal Wedding Tidbit for the day... Coming up this weekend is yet another royal wedding.  The Queen's first grand daughter, Zara Phillips will marry Mike Tindal.  Though Miss Phillips carries no royal title, at the request of her mother Anne, The Princess Royal, she will be afforded her share of the royal limelight.  Zara's wedding will take place in a few days, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The location for the wedding is the quaint (compared to Westminster Abbey) Canongate Kirk.  Where the royal family worships when at Hollyrood House, official royal residence in the Scottish metropolis.  Below is a picture of the church.

Photo Credits: Shane Connolly still and close up bouquet still: The Royal Wedding Dress: A Story of Great British Design.  The Royal Channel, YouTube, July 25, 2011.

Canongate Kirk photo:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Royal Wedding In Monaco... more on the Monegasque wedding...

In Euroupe like in England, they seem to do weddings just slightly different from Americans.  The most recent royal wedding, the one that took place in Monaco last weekend, was no exception.  The newly married Princess Charlene had her attending bridesmaids dressing in traditional Monegasque costumes.  What a wonderful touch.  Someone told me they weren't to thrilled with the hats, but I do think they add a nice touch, especially since the wedding took place semi-outdoors, as it was held in the large central courtyard of the palace in Monte Carlo.

Upon closer inspection of the pictures showing the bridesmaids, their flowers are nosegays that give the impressions of being recently gathered by the girls.  They are arranged simply gathered with roses, ivy, galax leaves, and what looks like to be lavender freesia.  I do really like the nod to the old traditional attire of the location.  The freesia is a nice touch as it adds a continuity from the bridal bouquet, which relied on white freesia as it's main component... here is another photo of the bridal bouquet, on the altar in the chapel in Monte Carlo.

Royal Wedding tid-bit of the day... Much disscussion and conjecture ensued in 1923 when Prince Albert, Duke of York prepared to marrie Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.  The reason for the controversy?  Palace officials oppsosed having the ceremony broadcast on the "wireless" (radio).  They feared that the sacred ceremony would be heard by gentlemen, in pubs, still wearing their hats!  I do wonder what those palace officials back in 1923 would think of the global expossure given to the most recent Abbey wedding?

Photo Credit: both from

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene ... Cascade bouquet making a comeback!

So, it was Monaco's turn this past weekend to show the world how to do a royal wedding.  It was a different type of affair for sure, in contrast to the British royal wedding in April.  This time the reigning Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert was getting married to his long time fiance, Charlene Whittstock.  The new princess Charlene was quite a vision in her Armani gown.  I was particularly happy that her bouquet was of the more regal style... a cascade unlike the bouquet of Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge.  But, like Catherine's, Charlene's bouquet contained some very traditional bridal flowers.  White dembdrobium orchids helped form the slender cascade portion of the bouquet, while a tight cluster of white freesia and Lily of the Valley formed the round, main portion of the arrangement. 

Finally, and with relief, we have pictures of a royal wedding bouquet that show in close up, the details of this special floral piece.  The bride left her bouquet on a chapel altar, and a photo-op was born.  From the photos, we can see the flowers in great detail, and see something rather unusual.  The bouquet stems are wrapped with black ribbon.  I am anxious to research and find out if this nontraditional color for a royal wedding has any significant meaning.  Or, could it be the floral designers special mark, making this wedding quite different in style and expression from other royal weddings.

Royal wedding tid-bit for the day... A slew of European royals attended Saturday's royal nuptials in Monte Carlo.  On hand from the British Royal family were Edward and Sophie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex.  In tomorrow's post, we'll take a look at the bridesmaids serving at this most recent royal wedding.

Thank you to for the pictures so lovely posted on their site for us to see.

Queen Mother's Bridal Bouquet

During my last few years of researching royal wedding flowers, one mystery that I kept hearing about was the Queen Mother's bouquet.  The then Duchess of York left her bouquet on the tomb of the Unknown Warrior as she entered Westminster Abbey during a delay of the processional... when a abbey staff member fainted prior to the ceremony.  Thus, after the ceremony, back at the palace, there was no bridal bouquet in the formal portraits.

Some sources say that there was white heather and white roses, another I read said the bouquet contained carnations, fern, and two lilies... but, all sources reporting in on the subject stated that there are no photos of the bouquet to found, so the bouquet's contents cannot be confirmed.

Well, there may be no photographic images of the bouquet, but I thought, what about the film reels of the event?  Knowing that I had seen silent footage of the royal wedding in 1923, I decided to review those films on You Tube.  And, I wasn't dissapointed, as the first film I viewed shows an image of the bouquet being carried by an attendant of the Duchess, following right behind the father of the bride, The Earl of Strathmore.  If I have found it, then, I have another bit of royal flower sleuthing under my belt.  So, from that film I have tried to capture the frame where the bouquet is most visible.  And, to my eye, it does look like a round bouquet of all white roses, gathered with white ribbon.  The white heather may be in there, but, you really can't confirm that by the image on film.  But, I think that I will believe that the heather and rose account is the correct description of the bouquet.

AH HA!  there, it worked!  A film clip capture... thanks very much to my new computer snipping tool, then to a little file conversion with Photo Shop, and there we have it, an image of the Queen Mother's bridal bouquet, just there, to the right of the coachman... the large white puff above and to the left is the plume on the Earl of Strathmore's hat.  Yep, looks like some really precisely arranged white roses!  Thank you to The Royal Channel  on YouTube!  Check out The Royal Channel for many film reel and video images of history royal events, some as early at 1901 with film footage of Queen Victoria's funeral.  I am really excited to have this image clip as it really coincides with the above image in this post, having taken place just seconds after the above picture was snapped.

Royal wedding tidbit for the day...
This past weekend on PBS, a documentary aired entitled "British Royal Weddings." The first part of this series dealt with the wedding we see featured above, then the wedding of they current Queen, Princess Elizabeth back in 1947 when she married, and then, the wedding of Princess Margaret.  Very refreshingly, this documentary dealt with some really interesting and minute details such as the flowers!! And, for the first time, I got to see my friend, David Longman, in person, well... on video really, as he discussed the bouquet his father designed for Princess Elizabeth, sans Gardenias, since Princess Margaret was allergic to them.  How nice to see David on t.v., after years of writing, finally glad to have a face to put with the man from the emails.