There’s been a royal Brexit campaign in full force this year, in case you didn’t know, members of the royal family have graced France, Germany, Romania, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in recent months, and the Queen just hosted a Spanish state visit here. This week it was the turn of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, touring Poland and Germany together with their young family. And with a nearly rapturous welcome wherever they’ve been, they’ve most probably poured some balm on some anti-Brexit sores.
Indeed during their walkabout in Warsaw, onlookers screamed with delight, excitedly taking waving and taking selfies. The person they all wanted to see was, undoubtedly, Kate Middleton. Kate’s been putting on the gloss this week, wearing a range of outfits befitting the event or activity; always just right, rarely overly-showy;
“The Duchess of Cambridge is very nice, she is beautiful,” said Patrycja Chelminska, 17, after talking to her. “It was my dream to meet her. I am so happy.”
Magda Mordaka, 21, a student, said: “We are fans of the British monarchy. We have a Facebook group. We love her style, and her contact with people. We were waiting for this visit from the very beginning. What would she wear? Would she bring the children? We were telling her that she is beautiful and perfect, but she said it’s not true — it’s just the make-up.”
This self-deprecating style has won Kate many fans, the world over. As ever her meticulously chosen outfits (and perfect hair-dos) have garnered global headlines. And as ever Kate has looked as pretty as a picture in every snap.
A classic English rose in looks she may be but there’s an altogether different flower for Kate. Jasmine. For friendliness, modesty, simplicity. And of course beauty. There are yellow jasmine but the most common is pure white.
Fruitful: This week we’ve seen how Kate has bloomed in her role as Duchess, Consort and Royal mother. She might not have come from the tropical temperate regions native to Jasmine but she does share a genuine warmth. Both are arguably ornamental and decorative too – Jasmine is often used in worship and for hair ornaments. And both have been cultivated – for both domestic and international purposes.
Devoted: Kate’s adoring love for William has been photographed on many occasions, Jasmine too has a long association with romantic devotion. An Italian tradition says that jasmine was so special that it was only cultivated by one man, who bought it from Persian traders. He kept it guarded it selfishly, in his secluded Tuscan garden to woo the woman he wanted to marry. When he finally presented her with a Jasmine bouquet, the beautiful fragrance was enough to make her fall in love with him. Ever since jasmine has been traditionally included in Tuscan wedding bouquets. A variation of the story says it was because of Cupid’s desire to have the flower that he encouraged the love match between the Tuscan gardener and his mistress. Today Jasmine is used in a range of rituals from marriages, and religious ceremonies to festivals. And as the national flower of Pakistan, it is often combined with roses for such special occasions.
Graceful: Though ‘common’ born Kate’s suitability for the highest ranks of royalty would suggest an ethereal quality about her. There’s an other worldliness to Jasmine too, a symbol of hope and spirituality and purity. In mythology, Greek god Aphrodite and Roman god Venus, are both linked to jasmine for their purity of love. And in anceint death rituals to purify the individual as they pass to the next world. In India (Madurai, a city in Tamil Nadu is the world-renowned famous for it’s jasmine production), the flower is used to make Gajra garlands, worn on special occasions as a charm. Bunches and garlands of jasmine are sold outside of temples for ceremonies honouring deities for their purity or asking for absolution from wrongdoing. The history of fragrance is strong in Islam too. The Koran says the pious must ‘stand clean and of good scent before God.’ This is why stalls selling fragrance (especially jasmine and amber) are found next to mosques.
Maternal: Since the births of William and Charlotte, Kate has flourished in her role as Mum and her (particularly sartorial) choices for the children are hugely influential. And so Jasmine, which blooms in Spring, the season of new life, is also often used as a representation of motherhood. Often depicted in religious iconography as a symbol of purity, usually with the Virgin Mary.
And used for Mother’s day bouquets to say pure, beautiful and sweet (particularly used in the States because it blooms around Mother’s Day, the 2nd Sunday in May.) In Thailand, jasmine is similarly used as a symbol for motherhood, fostering both love and respect.
Precious: As a Duchess, Kate’s aristocratic life must be very different to her ‘commoner’ origins. But like the Jasmine, a flower which much prefers tropical climes, she has admirably shown how to blossom in uncertain conditions. So to Victorian England valued the Jasmine for it’s nobility, elegance and modesty in a cold climate.
Positive: She meets, she greets, she smiles. It’s not brain surgery but Kate really does have the skill of making others feel brighter about their day. Yellow jasmine does this too – powerfully enhancing positive affection, friendship, joy and reconciliation too. This is also why it is used as various national and state flowers. Across the world, jasmine is also a symbol of affection and in Reiki as a flower to share love and knowledge.
Aromatic: Perhaps one of the most keenly scented flowers, jasmine is well known for their sweet smell and are used in many perfumes. In the summer, heat intensifies their scent to a heady, some say intoxicating scent, especially at dusk. Rather like Kate, the smell of Jasmine engenders hope, confidence, and optimism. In Asia especially, Jasmine is considered both symbolic and spontaneous, an indication of authenticity and promise. Hence the name the Jasmine Revolution for the uprising in Tunisia and the pro-democarcy protests in China (2011). In classical mythology there are many instances where gods and humans are “drugged” by Jasmine and led into a reverie.
Jasmine, like Kate, is all-round very nice; demure, modest, amicable and very attractive.
Featured image: Getty Images