Will she or won’t she? We still don’t know if Kate Middleton’s bouquet will contain a sprig of Osborne myrtle, although it seems very likely that it will.
Ever since Queen Victoria began growing Myrtle at Osborne House, after planting a sprig taken from her bouquet when she married Albert in 1840, it has been included in the Royal bouquets.
Another myrtle sprig planted at Osborne came from the wreath upon the head of Albert’s father as he laid in state (see photo of plaque).
Queen Mother’s lily of the valley bouquet, the Queen’s British grown orchid bouquet, Princess Diana’s Edwardian cascade and Camilla Parker Bowles’ bouquet all contained Isle of Wight myrtle from Osborne House.
In ancient Hebrew times, myrtle was a symbol of marriage. As a Victorian symbol, myrtle symbolizes fidelity and is thought to bring good luck – an emblem of everlasting love, marital bliss, and desire.
Myrtle is known as ‘the herb of love’ with its star-like flowers, creamy-white petals and dark green leaves. It is associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman goddess Venus.
Visitors to Osborne House to see the Royal Wedding will however be given a buttonhole made from the garden’s myrtle bushes. But sadly it will not be in flower as myrtle begins to flower in July, and even our recent spell of wonderful weather has been unable to encourage an early blooming.
Brides began using myrtle in their bridal wreaths after the royal fashion and the cuttings were later planted in their gardens by their bridesmaids (never the bride). It was thought that if the sprig didn’t strike, whoever planted it would remain an old maid. But luckily myrtle roots and grows very easily.
Perhaps those attending the screening might choose to plant their myrtle sprigs when they get home, to keep for the brides in their own families.