On Monday, members of the Royal Family attended the first day of this year’s Royal Chelsea Flower Show.
It is the first year without Elizabeth II’s attendance at the annual event; the show held a special place in the late Queen’s life as she was Patron of the RHS from 1952, and first attended the event when she was just 10 years old.
The first royal visitor to the event was The Princess of Wales, who was supporting the RHS’s new campaign to encourage children to take up gardening and enjoy nature.
The Princess attended the event’s first children’s picnic to help launch the campaign at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. From there, Catherine and the students from the participating schools took part in a bug hunt, helped to plan a home-grown meal, discovered how gardens can support wellbeing and saw a number of the gardens on display.
During the visit, Catherine was asked what it was like being a member of the Royal Family to which she replied: ‘You have to work hard, but you know the best thing about it is meeting kiddies like you’.
She also revealed her favourite colour is green.
Revealing one thing she can’t do was make the law, when asked by one inquisitive child. The insights come only a week after Catherine visited students from St Katherine’s School in Bath for Mental Health Awareness Week and spoke about she had to learn how to be part of the Royal Family.
The Princess also took part in a drawing session with one of the children. However, when asked to sign the drawing, she told the children, ‘my name’s Catherine. I’m not allowed to write my signature, it’s just one of those rules’.
She drew a flower for one children a tree for another and a pond surrounded by plants for a third child.
What a lovely lunchtime spent with the next generation of nature-lovers, exploring the gardens and enjoying the first ever Children’s Picnic here at Chelsea ☀️🌷 pic.twitter.com/PY3iIWHGwY
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) May 22, 2023
Later in the day, The King and Queen led members of the Royal Family in attending the Flower Show.
Also in attendance were The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, and non-working Royals, but regular attendees Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
Their Majesties took separate tours around some of the gardens at the event. During the tour, Charles revealed that he was on the hunt for plants to replace ones eaten by rabbits at his Highgrove estate.
Camilla saw the London Square Community Garden, designed by James Smith, to encourage people to meet together, relax and share food, whilst connecting with the outdoors. The Queen admired the flowers and communal with chess and draught boards with up-cycled chairs created by The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades.
One of the gardens this year pays tribute to the newly crowned King and Queen and is titled ‘The Royal Tribute Garden’. It is set to commemorate the life of Elizabeth II, but also mark the Coronation.
Enclosed on three sides, the garden allows for ‘contemplation within the show ground’, and is intended to ‘instil a sense of calm and reflection about the monarchy’. The garden features the Royal Family’s favourite plants, with different flower tributes to reflect the individual tastes of both the late Queen and the new King: light pink and white planting for the late Queen, and purple and blue planting for King Charles III.
Another display includes a life-size topiary display of the late Queen’s pony, Emma, who was seen during the funeral of the horse-loving Monarch.
Charles and Camilla paid tribute to Elizabeth II by awarding a new medal called the Elizabeth Medal of Honour. It will be confined to a maximum of 70 recipients at any one time and allows the Royal Horticultural Society Council to honour the leading figures in gardening.
King Charles and Queen Camilla presented the first medals in the ‘Garden of Royal Reflection and Celebration’ to garden designer Piet Oudolf, Baroness Janet Fookes (a champion of horticulture in Parliament), and environmental champion Judy Ling Wong.
Yesterday at #RHSChelsea, His Majesty King Charles III presented garden designer Piet Oudolf, the Right Honourable the Baroness Janet Fookes DBE & environmental champion Judy Ling Wong CBE with the newly-introduced Elizabeth Medal of Honour 🎖️ pic.twitter.com/IQm7Z6Mg0f
— The RHS (@The_RHS) May 23, 2023
RHS President Keith Weed said: ‘The Royal Horticultural Society was exceptionally fortunate to have Her Majesty as our patron throughout her reign. This award celebrates both Her Majesty’s glorious reign and the work she did to raise the profile of UK horticulture both nationally and internationally through her visits to RHS Chelsea Flower Show and wider work.’