Queen Elizabeth II of England and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary in 2020. They got married on 20 November 1947. On that day Princess Elizabeth II had eight bridesmaids: Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Lady Mary Cambridge, Pamela Mountbatten, Margaret Elpinstone and Diana Bowes-Lyon.
On 9 April 2021, the Duke of Edinburgh passed away at the age of 99. And of the eight bridesmaids, only two are alive today: Lady Pamela, who is 92, and Alexandra of Kent, who is 85.
As recently as 200 years ago, life expectancy in the so-called “developed countries” was close to 30 years of age. Scientists justify this age limit because of, among other variables, the completion of reproductive tasks (as in animals): the large investment of energy involved in reproduction and the quality of life. Be that as it may, the human species now “suddenly” has three times as long to live as before (and increasing). Humans enjoy an extra 40 years. This bizarre evolution is unprecedented in any other species. And yet many humans still do not realise that we are no longer born as programmed to die “early” as we were in the past.
In the biblical scriptures, and according to Genesis, Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather, lived 969 years. At the moment I believe that the natural ageing limit of Homo sapiens on Planet Earth is around 122 years. That’s not bad either. The record for longevity was held by Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 after living 122 years, 5 months and 14 days: she experienced the wonders of the discovery of the electric light bulb, the aeroplane or even the appearance of the internet.
On the other hand, if biomedicine is combined with technology, some scientists are convinced that enormous longevity could be achieved. Indeed, Aubrey de Grey, an English biomedical gerontologist, believes that the first humans to live 1,000 years have already been born (“The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging”).
Realising this phenomenon (whether you agree with it or not, that’s a different story), provokes me to ask questions that in ancient times would probably have sounded like the stuff of witches. Given that we are theoretically going to live longer and longer on planet Earth, is it not worth investing in improving our quality of life? And shouldn’t this also involve improving our surroundings? Shouldn’t we need a paradigm shift in order for life to continue to be worth living?
When I was looking at the images of this royal wedding and found out about the age of some of the participants, all these thoughts immediately came to my mind. And I wanted to play with the idea of working with preserved flowers, called “eternal flowers”. My idea was to play with the idea of extending the life of these tiaras. On the other hand, I also wanted to play with the idea that you don’t have to be a royalty to wear a royal crown. The wealth of nature is such that the economic differences that we can establish between humans are pure trivialities and illusions. They do not exist. Nature is richer than all the gold in the world that anyone can accumulate. At the end of the day economic wealth is a simple addition of things in someone’s life. And things come and go. But nature stays. The processes of nature are permanent, eternal and constant. It is the beings that pass through it that change and transform.
The tiaras that these bridesmaids were wearing 70 years ago fascinate me. So much so that I wanted to design a similar one inspired by them. In the following photograph we can see, on the right, Lady Pamela proudly showing her daughter, India Hicks, the dress and flower tiara she wore that day:
From the picture it seems that the tiaras were designed with fabric and various elements of rhinestones. According to what I have found on the internet, the tiaras have “miniature white sheaves, Lilies and London Pride, modelled in white satin and silver lame”.
In this picture I think we can see the shape of the tiaras better. The photograph was taken after the wedding celebration, when the newlyweds stepped out onto the palace balcony to greet the large crowds on the square:
And this is the royal tiara, designed with preserved flowers, “Our Daily Lives” collection:
In the design of this wreath I have used up to 16 different types of preserved flowers and plants, all in a range of colours from white, to beige, cream and a few dots of very pale lilac.
The ultimate test for the design of this beautiful wreath of preserved flowers was the recording in Barcelona of a music video clip: A cover of “Persian love”, written by Saeed Modarres and sung by Elahe Parsa and Anahita Taghavi on percussion. They are two great artists from Teheran (Iran) living in Barcelona, with whom we had the honour to collaborate. Elahe is also a clothing designer (https://eleepdesign.com) and Anahita Taghavi is a dentist. Both were a source of inspiration.
Again, there is no better combination than music and flowers:
“The waves of a skirt dancing in the wind
An armful of untied hair
The fever of my forehead wants your hands tonight
Hold me in your warm arms
So that the wall hears my breaths
It seems I have forgotten how to dance
This is me now I want to break my silence
Even though my words are bitter I kept on ignoring myself
I stamped you as prohibited
But I don’t want to anymore
I will come till the end of the path
With you, I will go anywhere in the world
Sleep next to my pulse
Let me become the scandal of the universe
Let me become a resident of hell
I want to dance with you
A skirt full of flowers surrounded by lots of spikes
Let my hands get cut this time
When I put you in my heart, the walls all fall
I will kiss you even if it’s a sin
God is near the moon tonight
The one who has broken a heart is ashamed
The one who has broken a heart is ashamed
The one who has broken a heart is ashamed”
This crown designed with preserved flowers is available for sale and shipping anywhere in the world. Just contact me.
Do you have any questions or comments? Contact me, I am happy to hear from you.