May 2, 2011

{Did You Know?} No. 3: "A Sprig of Myrtle & Royal Brides"

[This continues the Did You Know? series...blog additions highlighting facts and folklore about brides, weddings & courtship.]

Did you know that all royal British brides (or brides who have married British royalty) since Queen Victoria's wedding have included a sprig of the folkloric shrub myrtle? And not just a sprig from any ole myrtle bush, but from the "royal myrtles" at Fulham Palace gardens in London. There are four famous bushes at the east end of the palace, facing the gardens, that grew from cuttings, as the story goes, from Victoria's own bouquet! And all royal bouquets of British brides since -- including the lovely Kate's -- have included a sprig or two of the royal myrtles.

We all love the mystery around weddings and I was amazed that as much media attention on the recent royal wedding, that Kate Middleton had been able to keep so many things secret! Although the style of her bridal bouquet or the type and color of flowers included were a mystery until she emerged from that glistening vintage Rolls-Royce, what was a given beforehand was that it would contain a sprig or two of the legendary royal myrtles!

The fragrant Myrtus communis  -- with its petite waxy green leaves and delicate creamy white "eye lash" blossoms -- has a mythological history. The tender perennial is associated with both the Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Roman goddess Venus -- the goddesses of love, beauty and laughter. Through the ages, this legendary botanical has symbolized love and desire, marriage and fidelity, good luck and abundance. 

ps: You can read more about the "royal myrtles" in a reprint of an article I wrote, "The Legend of the Royal Myrtles" ...posted on a blog page here! ~

[Another post in the Did You Know? series will appear soon! You can find past additions highlighting facts and folklore about brides, weddings & courtship by clicking on "Did You Know?" in the Labels list below.]

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