Royal Wedding Flowers: orchids

It's known as a luxurious flower and symbolises love so it's perhaps surprising that the orchid doesn't feature in every royal wedding bouquet. This exotic bloom isn't one of the most regular flowers used by royal brides but it's featured in some of the most famous bouquets of recent times. Among them, the bouquet that was carried at a wedding still making history today. Yes, the flowers chosen by the then Princess Elizabeth for her marriage on November 20th 1947 included orchids. As the Queen and Prince Philip prepare to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in just a few days time, here are five times royal brides have chosen orchids for their bouquets.

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Queen Elizabeth II, November 20th 1947

The Queen's wedding bouquet was a spectacular sprawling sprig of flowers that featured orchids among its  blooms. The then Princess Elizabeth went for three types of British orchids in the bouquet made by Martin Longman of Ludgate in London. She chose from five ideas submitted by the florist and ended up with a rather exotic looking royal bouquet that inspired many other brides in its day. It also went AWOL before the photos and another one was made while she honeymooned. Back at Buck House, the newlyweds posed for more pictures with the blooms on show. Well, when you've got three types of orchid (cattleya, odontoglossum and cypripedium) as well as a sprig of myrtle from the bush planted by Queen Victoria at Osborne then why not?

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Princess Margaret, May 6th 1960

Margaret Rose did like to make a point of how she had been born the younger sister and so wasn't really considered as important as Lillibet the Queen. You could read that into this bouquet which is a much smaller affair than that carried by her big sister and contains orchids in their miniature form. You have to peer pretty hard to see them among the stephanotis and lily of the valley that Margaret also chose. There was always an element of theatre with this princess.

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Diana, Princess of Wales, July 29th 1981

Given the amount of flowers she carried down the aisle of St Paul's Cathedral, it's not surprising that Diana got some orchids into her bouquet somewhere along the line. Even the official press release about Diana's flowers noted how big they were. The cascading, Edwardian style bouquet also contained roses (named in honour of Charles' beloved uncle, Lord Mountbatten), ivy, freesias and lily of the valley.

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Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, June 19th 2010

Victoria was another royal bride who packed in the petals when it came to her wedding bouquet but given that her nuptials were billed as the biggest regal marriage since Charles and Diana, that's perhaps only to be expected. The future queen of Sweden chose a sweet smelling selection of white flowers for her bouquet with orchids joined by peonies, roses and valley lilies in the flowing confection. 

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Stephanie, Hereditary Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, October 20th 2012

The bride of the last heir to the throne of his generation to get married was always going to wow at her wedding and Stephanie sparkled so much that we're still getting over it, five years on. Among the many triumphs of her two day wedding celebration was the bouquet carried into the religious service at the Cathedral de Notre Dame in Luxembourg on October 20th. Made by the famous Parisian florist, Maison Lechaume, it consists of white orchids, roses and ivy in a delicate swirling shape. Rather pretty and just the right contrast with the acres of gorgeous lace in her Elie Saab frock. Stephanie was a bride to be reckoned with and her flowers look fragrant, even now.