This is a Victorian bridal wreath made of wax and cloth orange and myrtle flowers.

Dating back to ancient times, the fragrant white blooms of the myrtle plant were often viewed as sacred, representing not only love and desire, but also immortality. The plant was strongly associated with images of Aphrodite and Venus, the goddesses of Greek and Roman love. The Three Graces who waited on Aphrodite, and who symbolised all femininity were often crowned with  myrtle wreaths. And, in Roman tradition, oils pressed from the leaves were used for healing and soothing wounds, as well as scenting the ritual baths taken by brides before they wed.

Osborne House from below the Terrace by W. L. Leitch

In Victorian times the myrtle flower was said to bring  luck and fidelity and, although her wedding bouquet was comprised solely of snowdrops, Queen Victoria had a myrtle plant of her own, grown along the terraced walls in the gardens of Osborne House, propagated from a sprig in a nosegay given by Prince Albert’s grandmother when the couple visited Germany in 1845.

The Wedding of Princess Victoria

Later, when Queen Victoria’s daughters wed, Victoria, Alice, Helena, Louise and Beatrice, all carried bouquets which contained blooms from that very plant in Osborne House – as did Katherine Middleton today, when she married Prince William in Westminster Abbey.


  1. I thought that the sprig of myrtle was a great idea. Her tiara belonged to the Queen Mother as well and was given to her by the queen for to wear for the blessed occasion.

  2. Yes, Rehan - and Sweet William flowers too, for obvious reasons!

  3. Thank you, thank you!

    I had been writing about royal wedding souvenirs, comparing the glorious porcelain, jewellery and other antiques (or antiques of the future) compared to the naff tea towels that were on offer this month. I cited the Moorcraft decision to include a sprig of myrtle in their porcelain patterns, but I was not at all sure about their historical honesty. After all, they are there to make profits off the wedding, not to promote good history writing.

    Queen Victoria and her daughters, Victoria, Alice, Helena, Louise and Beatrice, all carried bouquets which contained blooms from myrtle plant in Osborne House. YES :)

    Thanks for the link

  4. Hello Hels,

    Queen Victoria carried a nosegay of snowdrops - which were Albert's favourite. The myrtle in her daughters' bouquets was from the plant given by Albert's grandmother in 1845 when he and Victorian visited Germany five years after their own wedding.

    I read that Elizabeth II carried white orchids, also with a sprig of myrtle - but not sure where that blossom came from.

  5. I loave that Kate was so thoughtful about the meaning of the flowes in her bouquet. Makes ma want to go back and rethink my own! Fun post, thank you.