Catherine Middleton carried a sprig of myrtle from Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in her bouquet when she married Prince William today (Friday April 29 2011) at Westminster Abbey.
Carrying-on a tradition which started with the wedding of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter Princess Victoria, Catherine Middleton’s bouquet contained stems from an original myrtle planted at Osborne in 1845, which still thrives within its sheltered terraced gardens today.
Queen Victoria was given a nosegay containing the myrtle by Prince Albert’s grandmother during a visit to Gotha in Germany in the year when the young married couple bought Osborne House as a family retreat – a sprig from the posy was planted against the terrace walls.
Signifying the innocence of the bride, the myrtle was first carried by Princess Victoria when she married in 1858 and continued with the weddings of her sisters Alice, Helena, Louise and Beatrice.
Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840 after a whirlwind courtship.
The ring which the young bride slipped upon Albert’s finger was engraved with a date etched in both their hearts – October 15, 1839, the day she had found the courage to propose to her suitor. She wrote of the day: “It was a nervous thing to do, but Prince Albert could not possibly have proposed to the Queen of England.”
Visitors to Osborne House today watched the Royal Wedding on a large screen on the lawns of the magnificent Island setting and received a commemorative buttonhole of Osborne myrtle.