The flowers that will be seen at Westminster Abbey during the Coronation service have been announced by Buckingham Palace.
The arrangements have been designed by Shane Connolly, who has previously created the floral arrangements for royal events, including Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005 and The Prince and Princess of Wales’s wedding in 2011.
The floral displays reflect The King and Queen’s deep love for nature, as well as their shared passion for gardening and the couple wanted to use the occasion to showcase some of the best of the British countryside in the Spring.
Royal watchers will see a range of flowers throughout Westminster Abbey, which will be arranged using sustainable techniques, without the use of single use plastics or floral foam. This will certainly please The King, who has been a key advocate for tackling the climate emergency.
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, making it a representation of the UK.
At the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey, there will be a pair of tall yew topiaries with a meadow of wild grasses and cowslips, primroses and violets. Following the service, the yews will be replanted in the new biodiverse topiary garden at Sandringham.
In a poignant tribute, fresh Spring flowers will be placed around the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. The colourful flowers will echo those seen in the Coronation invitation and will include lily of the valley and auriculas (both of which appeared in Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet), bluebells and forget-me-nots to represent love, daffodils for chivalry, bay for virtue and lilac for memories of youth.
At the High Altar, cuttings from shrubs and trees from the five Royal Horticultural Society gardens will be seen. These will include branches from the pair of Dawyck beech trees planted by Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at RHS Wisley in 1978, alongside seasonal foliage such as crab apple blossom, amelanchier, camellia, acer, hazel, rhododendron, and azalea.
There will be two floral installations 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 colours of the High Altar and the Cosmati Pavement’, as well as Their Majesties’ Robes of State and Estate. The installations will feature hellebores (a favourite of The King’s, which appeared in his buttonhole for Their Majesties’ wedding in 2005), honeysuckle, tulips and ranunculus, blossom, jasmine, and aquilegia.
Flowers and foliage have been sourced from all over the UK, including Bristol, the Isle of Skye, Northern Ireland, and Leeds, supporting British flower growers.
Following the Coronation, all the flowers and branches will be donated to Floral Angels – a charity 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 is Patron of Floral Angels.