The British Royal Family is steeped in tradition, from wedding processions to royal baby names to the causes they pour their hearts into. Where royal brides are concerned, there is a special wedding practice that Meghan Markle is expected to carry on when she says “I do” to Prince Harry. The rather subtle tradition, which sees regal bouquets including a sprig of lemon myrtle, dates back to 1858!
According to Marie Claire, Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Victoria carried a bouquet full of lemon myrtle when she tied the knot all those years ago. The bloom, which comes in a variety of types, has since been a fixture in almost every royal bride’s blooms to date, from Duchess Kate to Princess Diana to Queen Elizabeth II.
To make matters even more fascinating, myrtle that has graced the floral accents of each of these brides actually comes from the original plant that was gifted to Victoria by Prince Albert’s grandmother way back when. The small white blossom, originally brought from Germany, was planted at Queen Victoria’s holiday home of Osborne House in the Isle of Wight, where it has continued to grow ever since.
But lemon myrtle has many other properties aside from being a beautiful homage to the rich history of the Royal Family. The beautiful and dainty plant has been used for relaxation, uplifting emotions and has soothing properties for a more peaceful sleep. It can also be turned into an oil for cooking! Hailing from Australia, the Indigenous peoples of the South Pacific also use the bloom as a healing plant.
To pay tribute to Princess Diana in the bouquet, Meghan could opt to also include lily of the valley, just as Duchess Kate did with her bouquet, which also featured hyacinth. A lovely touch would be the addition of orchids, which the Queen chose for her own bouquet, along with the traditional myrtle. In keeping with tradition, royal brides send their stunning wedding bouquets to Westminster Abbey to be placed on the Grave of the Unknown Soldier – a tradition started by the late Queen Mother in 1923 in memory of her brother, Fergus, who died in 1915 during the war.