The world is officially three weeks away from Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle, and I could not be more excited. So in anticipation of the big day I've been soaking up as much new information about the ceremony as I can get. As an unofficial royal wedding expert (emphasis on the "unofficial") I've done a great deal of research about the upcoming event, so when I learned about this very interesting detail about what will likely happen to the bridal bouquet I felt it was necessary to share this with the world. Meghan Markle's bridal bouquet is expected to be placed in tribute at a special monument in Westminster Abbey. So you might be wondering, what is the Grave of the Unknown Warrior?
After Markle and Prince Harry tie the knot, Markle's bouquet is expected to be placed in front of the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, located at the famed Westminster Abbey in London. According to Brides, placing a bridal bouquet at the tomb is a tradition that dates back to 1923, when Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon married the Duke of York, Prince Albert. Lady Elizabeth, the mother of the present Queen Elizabeth II, had her bouquet placed on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior before her ceremony as she entered Westminster Abbey. According to Westminster Abbey, this was believed to have been done as a tribute to Lady Elizabeth's brother Fergus Bowes-Lyon, who died during the Battle of Loos in 1915 during World War I.
Since then, it's become an unofficial tradition for royal brides to have their bouquets placed on the tomb after the wedding, following the tradition Lady Elizabeth set. Queen Elizabeth II followed Lady Elizabeth's lead when she married in 1947, as did Kate Middleton during her wedding to Prince William in 2011 — so it's expected that Markle will do the same. Just a few short weeks ago on April 1 it was announced that London florist Philippa Craddock is arranging all the florals for the big day, and that she'd be using "flowers and plants that are in season and blooming naturally in May," in order to promote sustainability. And the bouquet will hold even more significance now that it'll be placed at the tomb in memory of all the fallen soldiers throughout Britain's history.
The tomb was opened at Westminster Abbey in 1920, two years after World War I had ended, as a monument to remember the lost lives of all the soldiers who don't have graves of their own. Buried in the tomb is the body of an unknown fallen soldier chosen at random, in order for the tomb to remain completely anonymous. The idea is that anyone can walk into the Abbey and it could be their fallen relative that's buried there.
The tomb is a one of the most special and sacred spots at Westminster Abbey. According to The Telegraph, it is the only part of the floor where guests are not allowed to walk on, so this is definitely a place that demands a great deal of respect.
Since this commemorative grave was dedicated, countless other countries have followed suit in order to pay tribute to members of their respective armies who died in the line of duty. In the United States, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier resides at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The tomb was created in 1921 — not long after the monument in London was placed at Westminster Abbey. In Arlington, however, there are multiple tombs present at the cemetery, with other tombs representing lives lost in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
But the tradition for royal brides to pay their respects by placing their bouquets at the tomb in Westminster is uniquely British tradition. This beautiful and touching tradition is guaranteed to make Markle's wedding to Prince Harry even more moving.