Like most Southerners, the royal families are sticklers for tradition—and details. Amid excitement and fanfare of every British wedding ceremony, from Queen Victoria in 1840 to Kate Middleton in 2011, there have been more than a few wedding conventions connecting each bride, beyond their royal ties, of course. From perfume and crowns to nail polish and engagement rings, you don’t have to search far to find a common thread of the “something borrowed” in each of these ceremonies. However, we were surprised to learn of another wedding tradition the gracious brides across the pond practice.
To symbolize their love and unity, every royal bride carries a bridal bouquet containing one sprig of a particular flower: myrtle. The evergreen woody shrub is commonly thought of as the flower of love and marriage, so it’s no wonder it holds such a significant meaning in weddings, even for those who are set to marry a Prince. But the sprig of myrtle doesn’t just come from any old bush in Great Britain. No, the flowering ritual was uprooted straight from Queen Victoria’s own 170-year-old garden. According to The Telegraph, the myrtle plant was given to her in the 1800s by the grandmother of her husband, Prince Albert.
Another commonality each bouquet shares is that they’re usually filled with white flowers, and they’re also left in the same spot following the wedding. Started by the late Queen Elizabeth I, each bride has left her flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey ever since. Here’s a look back on a few of the beautiful blossoms shaping royal wedding ceremonies, with the customary sprig of myrtle included.