To mark the beginning of this year’s virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, members of the Royal Family – including The Queen, Princess Anne and The Duke of Gloucester – have shared images from their own gardens featuring their favourite flowers.
The show is being hosted virtually in light of the pandemic, to allow for enjoyment of gardens and plants still.
The Queen chose Lily of the Valley in the gardens at Buckingham Palace. The delicate white flowers featured in Her Majesty’s coronation bouquet and has held special associations since.
The Prince of Wales opted for delphiniums, explaining: “For me, the magnificent, gloriously apparelled delphinium, with its impeccable bearing and massed in platoons, holds pride of place in my botanical affections.”
Charles is a keen gardener himself, with an impressive garden at Highgrove. A photo was shared of the Prince in the grounds of his Gloucestershire home, amongst the blues, pinks and purples.
Meanwhile, The Duchess of Cornwall shared her choice, Alchemilla Mollis: “This acid green fluffy – flowered plant is one of the best ever foliage plants for the garden and the vase. A must for every gardener…”
Camilla also enjoys tending to plants and the outdoor spaces like her husband.
Her sister-in-law Princess Anne selected hellebores from her Gatcombe home, commenting: “Not only do they flower early but they keep flowering for two months, and they are often beautifully marked with endless variations.”
Over at Bagshot Park, The Earl and Countess of Wessex shared this image of azaleas which are “so breath-taking at this time of year and have the most intoxicating scent.” Sophie took the snap herself.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also involved in the scheme, with Prince Richard choosing daisies, and Birgitte favouring Sweet Peas.
“His Royal Highness enjoys digging [daisies] up from between the paving stones and transferring elsewhere to grow properly and healthily,” the palace shared.
The photo of sweet peas, in shades of pink, purple and red, shared by the Duchess includes a wicker trellis she made as an Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.
The Gloucesters live at Kensington Palace, though it is thought they are probably downsizing (or have done recently) within the grounds of the palace complex.
Princess Alexandra’s choice was a yellow rose: “My Alexandra rose dominates my garden, but this Golden Celebration rose gives me great pleasure to look at and has the most extraordinary and unique scent.”
As this year’s show coincides with #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, the RHS are encouraging people to share their own plant photos on social media ‘to provide a moment of respite in these challenging times’.
The Queen also sent a letter to the RHS, as their patron. “On the occasion of the Opening of the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020, I send my best wishes to all those associated with the Royal Horticultural Society,” the message read.
“My family and I have always enjoyed visiting the Show, and I know that your Members and Supporters will be disappointed that they are unable to attend in person this year.
“As Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, I was pleased to hear that you will be providing gardening advice and virtual sessions on your website, from Monday 18th to Saturday 23rd May.
“I am sure that my grandmother, Queen Mary, who first attended the Chelsea Flower Show in 1916, would be delighted that many people today have an enthusiasm for horticulture, and that gardening remains a popular pastime in the United Kingdom.
“As you adapt to the present circumstances, I hope you find this unique event enjoyable and interesting.
The Chelsea Flower Show was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgewood. Initially known as the Great Spring Show, the first Chelsea Flower Show took place in 1913 and was attended by Queen Alexandra.
The Queen became Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1952, making her first visit to the show as Queen in 1955. She has attended most years to see the gardens.
The charity aims to enrich lives through plants and make the UK a greener place.