Queen Anne’s Lace-The Legend of this Delicate Flower

Queen Anne’s Lace always makes me think of the scene in Anne of Green Gables when Diana Barry tucks a sprig of the summer flower into her best friend Anne’s hair. She tells Anne, “This is the very last of the Queen Anne’s Lace of the summer.” She then says, ” Don’t worry about your hair. No one even notices it anymore.” Her tender gesture and reassurance speaks to the sweet and inseparable bond of friendship between the girls.

From Anne of Green Gables, Diana Barry tucking a spring of Queen Anne's Lace into Anne's hair.

I think it is one of the prettiest wildflowers of summer. Every year I look forward to the sight of the dainty and delicate white flowers that decorate roadsides and fields.

Queen Anne's Lace flower.
Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as wild carrot.

I recently read the story about how the flower got its name. Legend says that Queen Anne, b.1574 (wife of King James I of England and Scotland), was tatting with her friends when one of them challenged her to create a piece of lace that was as beautiful as a flower. Anne accepted the challenge, but while working, she pricked her finger with her needle, and a drop of her blood fell onto the lace. It is said, therefore, that the tiny purple-red flower in the center of the “lace” represents the droplet of her blood.

Queen Anne's Lace flower.
Can you see the purple flower in the center?

Another version of the tale says that the story refers not to Anne, wife of King James I, but Queen Anne of Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Ireland), b.1665.

A field of Queen Anne's Lace flowers.
Queen Anne’s Lace growing in the field across from my home.

Either way – the 1574 Anne or the 1665 Anne – it’s a good story.


12 thoughts on “Queen Anne’s Lace-The Legend of this Delicate Flower

  • Lovely. Also known as cow parsley, a name that tickles me.
    Interesting lore. I prefer the story of Anne, the wife of James I. I still can’t unsee the awful recent movie about Queen Anne.

  • Thank you for this interesting history lesson. Recently I learned that if you put Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms in water with food-coloring dye, the flower turns that color. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to!

  • Interesting story! I’m not sure if I’ve seen that flower in my travels to Europe but it has a resemblance to white flowers that I found interesting in the mountains in Switzerland. I love flowers especially the wild ones!

    • I love wildflowers too. Makes me think of “Sense and Sensibility” when Willoughby brings Marianne a bouquet of wildflowers and she says, “These are not from the hothouse!” 🙂

  • I love these legends. A very pretty flower. The endearing friendship between Anne and Diana is one of the many reasons I love the book, Anne of Green Gables.

  • I was reminded of this part of the story when listening to Fresh Snow [Series 5, Episode 2 of Kathryn Nicolai’s podcast “Nothing Much Happens; bedtime stories for grownups,” and my Google search for “Queen Anne’s Lace Anne of Green Gables” brought me to your page. Thank you.
    As a multi-generational Southwestern Ontario farmer, I’d heard the legend from my maternal grandmother. They often decorated the kitchen table in season.
    I read all the Anne of Green Gables books to Mhairi, my elder daughter, and to her and Martha, her 6½ years younger sister, though Mhairi took over reading to Martha at times.
    Queen Anne’s lace was widespread in our rural countryside, so this piece in the story resonated, and every year we take note of when it’s getting to “the very last of the Queen Anne’s Lace of the summer.”


    • P.S. I just looked at your About Me page … I had 52 Highland cattle before I retired. 😁

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