One of the most beautiful, natural aspects of this morning’s Royal Wedding were the lush, green trees lining William and Kate’s walk down the aisle in Westminster Abbey, transforming the church into a country garden for their wedding.
According to the Daily Mail, Kate Middleton’s ‘floral artistic director’ Shane Connolly has lined up half a dozen English Field Maples and installed them along the aisle in the church to create a ‘Living Avenue’ under which guests will walk to their seats. Hornbeams mark the entrance to the abbey, their foliage creating a natural archway for guests to walk under. Each of the trees is in a planter designed by Connolly and “handcrafted by artisans on the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove estate.”
Sustainability was important to William and Kate throughout the wedding planning process, and they specifically chose seasonal flora and used more live plants than cut flowers. When Connolly suggested the idea of a tree-lined aisle, Kate reportedly “fell in love” with the idea. English maples were not the future Duchess of Cambridge’s first choice; however, when she learned that the trees she had in mind were not seasonal, she agreed to use the maples and hornbeams.
According to the Mail article, English Field Maples are native to the U.K, and their wood is often used to make harps. The tree has been around for centuries, and in medieval times it was used to fashion loving cups and its distinctive leaf shape was carved on many English cathedrals of the time.
The 15-year-old maple trees were grown and supplied by Tendercare Nurseries, who also provided much of the flora for Prince Charles and Camilla’s wedding. Now that the wedding is over, the trees will be brought to their final destination—Highgrove Gardens, where they will be planted as a memorial to the Royal Wedding.