Flowers are a traditional part of funerals in the UK and can help to convey about the personality of the person that has died, and the feelings of those grieving toward them. In this article we will identify six of the most popular funeral flowers in the UK and identify the symbolism behind each of them. To begin with though, we will consider the flowers in Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral wreath, what they were, and their meanings.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, her funeral was on the scale that most of us are unlikely to see again in our lifetime; and as such every detail was planned to perfection. From the obvious such as the route that the coffin would take through London, the military procession, the eulogy, readings, and music, to less obvious but equally important aspects such as the clothing choices of the Royal Family, every choice was deliberate. Even the funeral flowers were carefully considered, with each one having significant meaning.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral Wreath
As would be expected the wreath that sat atop the Queen’s coffin was absolutely beautiful. At the request of King Charles III, all the flowers and foliage within the wreath were freshly cut from the gardens at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Highgrove House.
The wreath contained a selection of flowers, some of which Buckingham Palace have confirmed their meaning including:
- Rosemary: meaning remembrance
- English Oak: meaning love
- Myrtle: an ancient symbol of a happy marriage
Interestingly, the myrtle that was in the Queen’s wreath was grown from a sprig of myrtle that was carried in her wedding bouquet when she married the late Prince Philip in 1947. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were married for 73-years, before his death in April 2021. Such a poignant choice, marking the significance of their marriage through her 70 years on the throne.
Other flowers that were present in the wreath, in shades of gold, pink, and deep burgundy, included:
- Garden roses
- Autumnal hydrangea
Popular Flowers for Funeral Arrangements
Funeral flowers are an important way of expressing our love for the person that has died. The choice of flowers, the colour and fragrance, as well as their symbolic meaning can help to convey our deepest feelings, we have talked about this in more depth here.
Upon the death of a loved one, they may have already expressed a wish for certain flowers, or you may know the perfect choice. However, sometimes there is no clear choice. Below we briefly consider some of the most popular funeral flowers and their meaning.
- White lilies: Symbolising purity and rebirth, this is the most popular choice of flower for funerals. The lily is often depicted on sympathy cards and other funeral stationary, and is a simple, but elegant choice if you are unsure what to choose.
- Roses: Usually used to symbolise love roses are another popular funeral flower. Available in a large range of colours from deepest red through to the softest ivory, with shades of pink, peach, and yellow in-between. There is a rose to suit every personality making them one of the top choices in floral displays.
- Carnations: Available in a multitude of colours, the colour denotes the symbolism with carnations. Pink carnations symbolise gratitude, white symbolise purity, and red carnations mean love. Carnations are a popular choice that compliments larger flowers such as lilies or roses perfectly.
- Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums come a variety of shapes and colours enabling you to make a truly personal choice. Symbolising love, loyalty, and happiness, they are another popular choice for funeral arrangements.
- Hydrangeas: A large ball-like flower, adding Hydrangeas to any floral display adds instant impact. Available in shades of red, pink, purple, white, green, and blue depending on the season, they symbolise gratitude, grace, and beauty.
- Gladiolus: Gladioli are a uniquely shaped flower, that grow in bunches along a tall stem. Their name means sword in Latin, which is reflective of their shape, and as such they are used to symbolise strength and integrity of character. Also available in an array of colours gladiolus are another impactful choice in a funeral floral tribute.
Choosing Funeral Flowers
Ultimately the choice of flowers, colours, shape, and style of any floral funeral display is a very personal decision. Working with a talented florist is the best way to ensure that the arrangement meets with your expectations. If you are unsure of what to choose many florists can help by offering a personal consultation in which they find out about the person that has died and make recommendations based upon their personality, hobbies, and other traits. In past blogs, we have looked at the work of some of the florists that Steve often works alongside in the Staffordshire area.