If there’s one ironclad rule about families, it’s this: they cannot take normal photos together. Get family together, doesn’t matter the occasion, and one of them will find a way to screw it up. And we should know, because our parent site, Awkward Family Photos, was founded on this very premise.
Usually, there’s one exception to the Awkward Family Photos rule: celebrities. When the family photoshoot includes an army of staffers, stylists, and photographers, potential awkwardness gets stamped out quickly.
But once in a while, even the rich and famous aren’t immune to an Awkward Family Photo. Even the Queen of England herself.
The wedding took place on November 20th, 1947 and, to put it mildly, it was a pretty big deal. The BBC broadcast the ceremony to about 200 million people, so it’s no exaggeration to say the whole world tuned in.
Everything had to be perfect, but the wedding nearly started with a disaster. As Elizabeth, (who at the time was a princess), was getting ready to leave for Westminster Abbey, her hairdresser broke her tiara. Being that the tiara was a family heirloom and worn by her grandmother, Queen Mary, Elizabeth was devastated, but luckily a court jeweler was on hand to save the day.
Elizabeth was married in her tiara, and the rest of the wedding proceeded without a hitch. But after the ceremony, when Elizabeth and Phillip were having their official pictures taken, things went awry. See if you can spot what’s wrong with the picture below:
OK, yes, everyone was looking in the wrong direction. But you might also notice the Princess…has no bouquet. Not a single one of the official photos from that day included the royal flowers. Instead, Princess Elizabeth was forced to stand with her arms hanging awkwardly at her side, like a filthy commoner.
The missing bouquet consisted of white orchids with a sprig of myrtle. Here it is before it went AWOL:
The flowers were prepared by Longman’s Ltd, a London-based florist. David Longman, who ran the company at the time, appeared on an ITV documentary to explain that the flowers were misplaced some time during the big day. He could not say who was responsible for the screwup or how it happened, probably because everyone involved was promptly beheaded.
Upon discovering the mistake, the Elizabeth and Philip had to rectify it. They were forced to pause their honeymoon so they could get all gussied up in their wedding finery, for the second time, and retake the photos. That’s a drag, but it was still probably the happiest day of their marriage, if Netflix’s The Queen is accurate.
Luckily for Longman’s, the royal family has continued to use them for royal weddings. Princess Diana was married with a Longman’s bouquet, and Meghan Markle will have one for her upcoming wedding to Prince Harry.
Actually, she’ll have two bouquets: one for the wedding, and one backup. Ever since Elizabeth’s infamous floral mishap, all royal brides have gotten a backup in case they misplaced their bouquet.
So if you plan on watching Meghan and Harry’s wedding, you won’t need the smelling salts.