The Duchess of Cornwall visited London Garden Museum to mark the opening of the annual British Flowers Week festival yesterday, on what would have been The Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday.
During the visit, Camilla spoke to staff at the museum and looked at the colourful flowers on display. The Duchess toured five flower installations which were designed around the theme of ‘healing’ and heard how the displays showcased the seasonal quality of British flowers and plants.
Camilla told the florists at the exhibition how much she enjoys picking and arranging flowers, and that she loves this time of year when ‘everything comes out at once’.
Giving a speech, The Duchess of Cornwall commented: “I’d really like to thank all of you who grow, plant and decorate places with flowers. It makes such a difference to people’s lives. I think that a life without flowers would be unbearable.
“As a passionate gardener myself and somebody who loves arranging flowers, I try as much as I can, when I have time, to do all the flowers for our houses… It takes me ages but I do love it more than anything in the world.”
The Royal shared her own arranged bouquet for British Flowers Week in 2020, using flowers from the Birkhall estate.
Camilla was touched after being gifted a bouquet of flowers which included rosemary. Rosemary signifies remembrance (and is also the Duchess’ middle name).
As she was presented with the bouquet, she spoke about Prince Philip as well as her own late father, Major Bruce Shand, who died on 11 June 2006, aged 89.
Camilla said: “I’m thrilled to be here today. It would have been the birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh and tomorrow would be the day of the death of my father, and I’m very honoured to be here today, doing something I know they would have appreciated.”
Camilla’s father, Major Bruce Shand, was a wine merchant who served with the 12th Lancers during the Second World War. In 1940, he was awarded the Military Cross and again in 1942 for his efforts in France, but was later wounded and taken prisoner while fighting in North Africa. The Duchess continues his military affiliation supporting the Desert Rats.
“I’m very honoured to be here, to be doing something I know they both would have appreciated.”
– The Duchess on The Duke of Edinburgh, and her father, Major Bruce Shand, who passed away 15 years ago tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VikmleQyrb
— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) June 10, 2021
The Duchess of Cornwall also visited the museum’s new exhibition, ‘Constance Spry and Fashion for Flowers’, which was curated by royal florist Shane Connolly. Connolly holds the royal warrant to Prince Charles and The Queen, famously designing the wedding flowers for the the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
He said the world is ‘standing on the precipice of an environmental catastrophe’ but that flowers have the ability to ‘bring that message of nature’s fragility to the table’.
He noted that Philip was one of the earliest champions of the environment and did so much to further the cause.
This was not the only tribute to Philip this week; members of the Royal Family have honoured the late Duke of Edinburgh on his 100th birthday. The Queen was given a new breed of rose, named in honour of her late husband, at Windsor Castle last week.
The flower has a ‘variety of deep-pink colour dappled with white lines’. The Monarch said the flower was ‘lovely’.