Shane Connolly, the designer behind the coronation flowers, is one of the most modest people you could ever meet. He dislikes the limelight and is intensely private, yet he is one of the most talented event florists in the UK. Florist by Royal Appointment to the late Queen and now to King Charles III, he is the man responsible for the local, seasonal arrangements for Westminster Abbey on May 6. His work prioritises what can be grown and found in the UK at any given time of year, rejecting showier, more exotic arrangements.
Buckingham Palace has published a short video showcasing Shane's preparations for the coronation in conjunction with Flowers from the Farm, an association of 1000 British flower growers. Members of the association from all over the UK, from Skye to Cornwall, including lots of small-scale growers, have been gathering flowers and sending them to London in preparation for the big day, making it a true celebration of what Britain has to offer. “The more we can find things that are local and homegrown and grown on a small scale, the better,” says Shane. The growers talked with him about what species would be available for the coronation on May 6 and he designed the scheme around that.
Shane landed up in floristry by accident. ‘I was invited to lunch with a friend of a friend, Michael Goulding, who was an event florist. At the time I was finishing a degree in Psychology and had a work placement in London which I wasn’t enjoying. I didn’t even know event floristry existed, but I came away thinking, ‘That’s what I want to do.’’