It was all eyes on Her Majesty The Queen's coffin and rightly so.
Because whilst the flowers for her journey from Balmoral to London and her Lying in State at Westminster Hall followed the traditional green and white palette the final, and only tribute for the coffin was a glorious and fabulously executed riot of colour that not only echoed the Royal Standard but reflected Her Majesty’s love of the garden.
As with the first two tributes that accompanied Her Majesty on her final days, the stunningly beautiful design was made by the Royal Household florists using flowers and foliage from the gardens at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House.
And, at the request of His Majesty the King, the final design was not only made with a strong sustainable message in line with His Majesty's firm environmental beliefs but contained many personal elements as well.
Worked into a base of oak branches and moss rather than floral foam, the fabulous, almost dancing array of pink, yellow, blue and burgundy flowers included garden roses, hydrangea, sedum, scabious and dahlia.
The foliage, again cut from the Royal gardens, included Myrtle grown from a cutting from her 1947 wedding bouquet, Rosemary for remembrance and English Oak to symbolise love, wisdom, strength and endurance.
The flowers for St Georges Chapel and Westminster Abbey did follow the green and white theme and at St Georges Chapel included Longiflorum lilies, Royal White Bouvardia, Caro Dahlia, Maarten Zwaan Dahlia, Rosita Eustoma (Lisianthus) and Avalanche Roses with soft ruscus and eucalyptus together with greenery picked from Home Park, Windsor.
In the Abbey the pedestals were created by a team of NAFAS members including Michael Bowyer MBE, the National President and National Chairman Katherine Kear MDPF.
Katherine wrote on Facebook; I took my own foliage that carried symbolism and links to our Royal Heritage including Oak and Beech for the Hearts of Oak and strength of love for the trees that built Tudor ships and Royal Stewardship of forests. Myrtle for the Queen Victoria led tradition of including it in royal wedding bouquets, Rosemary for remembrance, willow for sorrow and mourning, jasmine symbolising God's gift and Ivy for eternal life and fidelity.
For the journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh Lottie Longman, daughter of David Longman who, on behalf of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners, created Her Majesty’s wedding bouquet back in 1947, used dahlias, sweet peas, phlox, white heather and pine fir, all collected from the Balmoral Estate.
The wreath for the Lying in State - above - also featured foliage from the gardens at both Balmoral and Windsor including Pine, Pittosporum, Lavender and Rosemary as well as white Roses, Spray Roses and Dahlias.
Her Majesty's wedding bouquet was a gift from The Worshipful Company of Gardeners and made by Longman's the Florist. It was made with British grown white orchids - including cattleya - and also included a sprig of myrtle, a tradition started by Queen Victoria. She had been given some myrtle by Prince Albert's grandmother, which she planted at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Her Majesty the Queen did the same and it is that bush that has provided the myrtle for her final tribute.
Editors Note: I have asked the design team at Florist Event (Oct 8/9, Manchester) to add a replica of Her Majesty's tribute to all the other foam free and alternative media designs they are showcasing in our Sustainability Workshop on the Saturday afternoon. All the designs will be on show on the Sunday as well. For details of Florist Event click here