Royal wedding florist Philippa Craddock has revealed foliage from native trees like silver birch and English oak will feature in the floral displays being created for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s big day.
Ms Craddock has described working with the couple as a “collaborative” process and spoke of her excitement at being chosen to design flower arrangements for Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel
where the prince and his fiancee will marry on Saturday.
She said Meghan and Harry coincidentally arrived at similar ideas for the commission, but remained tight-lipped about the exact plans only saying the brief stated plants and flowers should be sourced locally and chapel designs reflect the landscape around the castle.
Speaking while touring Savill Garden, in Windsor Great Park, where she is sourcing foliage, Ms Craddock said about being chosen by the couple: “Excited, hugely excited and I feel very privileged to be involved with this.
“There are moments where I’ve focused on it being another commission, so it’s like working with any one of our couples, and of course you take a step back and you just realise the enormity of it.
“It’s a huge occasion and we’re just hugely privileged.”
She was joined by John Anderson, Keeper of the Gardens at Windsor Great Park, who has set his team the task of supplying the florist with some of the foliage she needs.
Even Mr Anderson admitted he did not know how the greenery from the gardens he manages will be used and will be watching the big day on television to find out what the florist has created.
Ms Craddock said: “The base is the foliage, that’s where the designs start from and then the flowers are complementary on top of that, but actually it’s very much the foliage and shapes of the branches that will give us the shape of the designs.
“One of the things that has been very important in this brief to me is to make sure we’re sourcing locally and that the designs reflect the landscape that’s around Windsor Castle, that’s what we’re looking to do in the chapel.
“For me, as when I work with all couples, it’s been a highly collaborative process so everybody’s been involved and everybody’s had actually coincidentally similar ideas.”
Speaking about the use of silver birch Mr Anderson said: “It’s a native tree and in the forestry they self seed everywhere so you could say they’re a bit of a weed – a nice weed – this week they’re a very special weed that will be used by Philippa and the team.”
Beech will also be used alongside the oak and silver birch, and the Keeper of the Gardens and florist decided ferns would also be used, when they came across some in the garden.
Talking about her plans the florist added: “I’ve got a very, very clear idea in my head of exactly how the designs are going to look but also the wonderful thing is we’ve such an incredible selection from all the foliage that has been around in the Great Park and Savil Gardens.”
The recent good weather has meant plans have been slightly amended to take into account how the temperatures are affecting the plants and they have been “tweaking” what might be needed, Mr
He added: “A few days ago it was really hot, some things might not last if you cut them, we’ve been trialling some of these as well so we’ve been very efficient about what we’re going to cut and how it can be used.”
Planning for the wedding began in the winter and the gardener’s forestry and garden teams were able to delay some routine jobs so they could prune trees now for the wedding.
Mr Anderson said: “This is a very special occasion, this is a young couple getting married on Saturday at Windsor Castle in St George’s and we are just so proud and thrilled that the whole team at Windsor Great Park is involved.
“I can assure you I’ll be glued to the television on Saturday to see what Philippa has come up with.”