LONDON (Reuters) - London’s Westminster Abbey will be adorned with seasonal British flowers, shrubs and trees mainly sourced from royal estates for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.
An avenue of trees lining the aisle and leading to the altar will be the main feature of the display, which is based around growing, rather than cut plants, in line with the bride-to-be’s desire that it should be sustainable.
London-based florist Shane Connolly, 47, who is in charge of the displays, said he had been in regular touch with Middleton and that the flowers would not give a message of “wow, what an extravagance,” but “how beautiful.”
“I suggested right from the beginning that we would use things from the royal estates because her whole ethos has been that it had to be British ... and that it had to be seasonal and as organic to the place as possible,” he said.
The plants will include blossoms, azaleas, rhododendron, euphorbias, beech, wisteria and lilac, royal officials said on Tuesday.
Eight 20-foot high trees, six English Field Maple and two Hornbeam, will be the most prominent feature and they will be in planters designed by Connolly, who was chosen by the couple for his reputation for producing “elegant and unique” displays.
Tradition dictates that the bride’s bouquet consists of white flowers but Connolly would not divulge any details.
However, he hinted there could be a hidden message in the bouquet, as some flowers are said to convey certain meanings about love, romance, and fidelity.
“One of the things that has been very important to Catherine and to me are the meanings of flowers and the language of flowers,” said Connolly, who also arranged the flowers for the second marriage of William’s father Prince Charles in 2005.
“We’ve tried, especially in the wedding bouquets, which you’ll see on the day, we’ve tried very much to make beautiful stories.”
Whatever the design, media have reported that Middleton is expected to leave her flowers on a memorial in the abbey to an unknown soldier from World War One, following a tradition started by the queen’s mother at her wedding in 1923.
After the wedding, the other flowers and plants will be left at the church until May 6 for the public to view. After that, many of the trees will be taken to Highgrove, Charles’s residence in Gloucestershire.
The couple hope that other cut plants and flowers will be donated to charities or re-planted.
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison