Are you giving in to the media pressure surrounding "the Royal Wedding of the century" (I hope not, meaning let's hope for more extravaganza)? I have, and have been watching a series in two episodes just released by the BBC on April 17 to help whip up the frenzy around the preparation for the wedding of Catherine Middleton and Prince William. So, while I was reviewing my wedding history, set in Albion, I retained a couple of historical facts that have to do with scent in the series entitled Britain's Royal Weddings. These facts are discreet, but they were mentioned....
Part of the focus in the documentary is devoted to the compositions of the wedding bouquets and how they have evolved according to fashion, personal taste and sometimes, daring idiosyncratic inspiration.
Starting with Elizabeth Bowes Lyon who became known as the Queen Mother, we learn that her bridal bouquet included thistles and heather to pay homage to her Scottish heritage. When her eldest daughter Elizabeth, the future Elizabeth II, married Prince Philip of Greece, her sister Margaret expressly requested that no gardenias be made part of the bridal bouquet of her sister as they made her sneeze and she wanted to avoid a sonorous faux-pas echoing throughout Wesminster Abbey. The dress of Princess Elizabeth was inspired by the transparent dress strewn with flowers seen in the painting by Botticelli, Spring.
The bouquet for Princess Diana was created to fit with the ample proportions of her wedding dress which in turn had been designed to beat previous royal trains and not be eclipsed against the monumental architecture of Saint Paul Basilica (2600 guests were in attendance at her royal wedding.) The fragrant Stephanotis - a coarser type of jasmine-y fragrance to my nose - was one of the flowers included in this unusually long and wailing bouquet by Longmans. Finally, it is not said what perfume Diana splashed inadvertently on her Emanuel dress in the film, but her makeup artist reports how the princess appeared with an utterly embarassed expression on her face, because as it turned out, she she had spilled perfume on the front of her wedding dress just before having to step out in the glare of the public. It was decided to hope it would dry quickly and to collect the folds of the skirt in her hand over the "blob." At least Lady Diana was perfumed. According to some sources, her wedding-day perfume was Quelques Fleurs d'Houbigant although Diorissimo has been evoked too.
In some of the latest news for the upcoming Will and Kate royal wedding, Westminster is said to be decorated to resemble a country forest.
Let's hope commentators learn about the fragrances worn that day.