Flowers at the Coronation Service of The King and The Queen Consort
Published 04 May 2023
Seasonal flowers and foliage from all over the United Kingdom have arrived at Westminster Abbey, ahead of the Coronation of The King and The Queen Consort on 6th May. The flowers have been provided by Flowers from the Farm, a non-profit association that champions artisan growers of cut flowers, with foliage from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at the High Altar.
From the Isle of Skye to the coast of Cornwall, and from the mountains of Snowdonia to Tobermore in Northern Ireland, over 120 varieties of flowers have been grown by over 80 members of Flowers from the Farm on farmland, allotments and cutting gardens across the four nations of the United Kingdom.
The arrangements, designed by Shane Connolly and Co, will reflect Their Majesties’ deep affection for the natural world and their shared passion for gardening, and showcase the best of the British countryside in the Spring, inspired by the richness of Westminster Abbey. The flowers and foliage will be arranged using sustainable techniques, without the use of single use plastics or floral foam.
The Great West Door
At the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, a pair of tall yew topiaries will be underplanted with a meadow of wild grasses and cowslips, primroses and violets. Following the Coronation, the yews will be replanted in the new biodiverse topiary garden at Sandringham, which will be open to the public, as a lasting reminder of the day.
The Grave of the Unknown Warrior
Echoing the colourful British wildflower meadow seen on the hand-painted invitations to Their Majesties’ Coronation, fresh Spring flowers that are symbolic of remembrance will frame the Grave of the Unknown Warrior. These include sprigs of rosemary, bay for virtue, bluebells and forget-me-nots for constancy of love, daffodils for chivalry, cowslips, lilac for memories of youth, and lily of the valley and auriculas, which both appeared in Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet in 2005.
Two floral installations of seasonal flowers of the United Kingdom will be positioned at either side of the Quire, surrounding the entrance to the Coronation Theatre, where the majority of the Service will take place. The colour palette has been influenced by the rich golds, burgundies, purples, pinks and reds of the High Altar and the Cosmati Pavement, as well as Their Majesties’ Robes of State and Estate. The installations will feature hellebores – a particular favourite of The King, which appeared in His Majesty’s buttonhole for Their Majesties’ wedding in 2005, honeysuckle, tulips, ranunculus, blossom, jasmine, and aquilegia, which is an ancient symbol of the Holy Spirit, with foliage of rosemary, birch, bay and hazel, and wild broom grown on the Isle of Skye.
The High Altar
Boughs cut from flowering shrubs and trees from the five Royal Horticultural Society gardens across the British Isles will adorn the High Altar, including branches from the pair of Dawyck beech trees planted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh at RHS Wisley in 1978. Among the seasonal foliage will also be crab apple blossom, amelanchier, camellia, acer, hazel, rhododendron, and azalea will be arranged alongside beech cut from an ancient cluster of trees at RHS Bridgewater, which would have been visited by Queen Victoria.
Following the Coronation, all the flowers and branches will be donated to Floral Angels, a charity run entirely by volunteers that repurposes flowers from events into bouquets and arrangements to share with care homes, hospices, shelters and other vulnerable members of the community. The Queen Consort is Patron of Floral Angels.
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