Remember how excited we were when Prince William married Catherine Middleton in 2011? Although Prince Harry’s wedding with Meghan Markle is expected to be far less grand and more intimate, we cannot wait for the royal festivities to begin. And while we were trying to get hold of information about the guest list, we came across a few traditions that have been part of royal weddings in the past:
Wedding rings of Welsh Gold
The wedding rings of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, The Queen, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne, and Diana, Princess of Wales were all made from the same nugget of Welsh gold, which came from a Welsh mine – Clogau St David’s – at Bontddu.
There is still a minute sliver (one gramme) of this original piece of gold left, which is in the custody of the Privy Purse Office. In November 1981, however, the Royal British Legion presented the Queen with a 36-gramme piece of 21 carat Welsh gold, which is held by the Crown Jewellers and used for the Royal Wedding rings of today.
A Sprig of Myrtle
Many royal brides across the generations – from Her Majesty, The Queen to The Duchess of Cambridge – have chosen to carry a sprig of myrtle in their bouquets. This tradition dates back to the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s eldest daughter.
Tomb of the Unknown Warrior
Almost a century ago, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) established a long-held Royal Wedding tradition. As the royal bride entered Westminster Abbey on her wedding day, she stopped to lay her flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The gesture was in remembrance of her own brother, Fergus, who died at the Battle of Loos in 1915. She became the only royal bride to actually walk down the aisle without her bouquet. Brides after her have adopted the gesture too but they lay their flowers on the tomb as they leave the church instead of as they enter.
For her wedding to Prince Albert on April 10, 1840, Queen Victoria did not wear a tiara, instead donning a wreath of orange blossom, an emblem of chastity. The Queen’s choice of floral emblem and white silk wedding dress became the standard wedding attire for generations of Victorian brides – Princess Victoria, Princess Alice, Princess Helena, Princess Louise, Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, Princess Beatrice and Princess Alexandra – all of whom had orange blossoms as part of the design in their wedding dresses. Also, when Queen Elizabeth married the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, orange blossoms were again part of the design. Round the hem of her wedding dress, a border of orange blossoms was appliqued with transparent tulle outlined in seed pearls and crystal.