Seasonal flowers and foliage arrived at Westminster Abbey from all over the United Kingdom, ahead of the Coronation of their Majesties on 6th May 2023. The flowers were provided by Flowers from the Farm.
Over 120 varieties of flowers have been grown by more than 80 members of Flowers from the Farm from the coast of Cornwall to the Isle of Skye and from Tobermore in Northern Ireland to the mountains of Snowdonia on allotments, cutting gardens and farmland across the four nations of the United Kingdom.
The arrangements were designed by Shane Connolly and Co. to reflect the deep affection Their Majesties’ have for the natural world and showcase the best of the British countryside in the Spring, which was inspired by the richness of Westminster Abbey. The foliage and flowers were arranged using sustainable techniques, without using single-use floral foam or plastics.
The Great West Door
A pair of tall yew topiaries were underplanted with a meadow of wild grasses, cowslips, violets and primroses. After the Coronation the yews were replanted at Sandringham in the new biodiverse topiary garden. This will be open to the public as a lasting reminder of the day of the Coronation.
The Grave of the Unknown Warrier
Fresh Spring flowers symbolic of remembrance echoed the colourful British wildflower meadow depicted on the hand-painted invitations to Their Majesties’ Coronation framing the Grave of the Unknown Warrier. These include forget me nots and bluebells for constancy of love, sprigs of rosemary and bay for virtue, daffodils for chivalry, lilac, cowslips for memories of youth, and lily of the valley and auriculas which were both in Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet in 2005.
Two floral fixtures of seasonal flowers of the United Kingdom were kept on both sides of the Quire, surrounding the entrance to the Coronation Theatre where the greater part of the Service took place. The colour palette was influenced by the rich burgundies, golds, pinks, reds and purples of the Cosmati Pavement and the High Altar, as well as Their Majesties’ Robes of State and Estate. The installations featured hellebores, a particular favourite of King Charles, and appeared in His Majesty’s buttonhole for their Majesties’ wedding in 2005, along with tulips, blossom, honeysuckle, jasmine, ranunculus and aquilegia, which is an ancient symbol of the Holy Spirit with foliage of wild broom, rosemary, birch and hazel grown on the Isle of Skye.
The High Altar
Branches cut from trees and flowering shrubs from the five Royal Horticultural Society gardens across the British Isles embellished the High Altar with branches from the two Dawyck beech trees planted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1978. Among the seasonal foliage were also Amelanchier, crab apple blossom, acer, rhododendron, camellia, azalea and hazel arranged alongside beech cut from an ancient cluster of trees at RHS Bridgewater, which would even have been visited by Queen Victoria.