The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended the Chelsea Flower Show on Monday.
Her Majesty and The Duke were greeted by the President of the Royal Horticultural Society, Sir Nicholas Bacon, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. From there The Queen and Prince Philip toured the gardens, including the Sentebale garden.
A tremendously proud Prince Harry gave his grandparents a tour of the Sentebale garden.
Sentebale, the charity founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso, created a show garden ‘Sentebale – Hope in Vulnerability’ at this years show.
Designed by Matt Keightley, the gardens goal is to to raise the consciousness of Sentebale’s work in offering healthcare and education to Lesotho’s most vulnerable children.
“I am honoured to be working with Sentebale, The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community and Prince Harry on this year’s very special garden. It is such an inspirational project,” commented Matt Keightley.
The Sentebale Garden’s inspiration is drawn from the Sentebale’s Mamohato Children’s Centre. Upon completion, the Centre will provide residential camps for children affected by HIV/AIDS and severe poverty,
The garden gives visitors a peek into the atmosphere of the area where the camp will be located. It includes a rock and waterscape feature indicative of the mountainous terrain in this part of southern Africa.
In 2013, working with his charity Sentebale, Harry contributed to part of the design for an African-inspired garden for the centenary celebration of the show. The design brought to light to the work his charity undertakes to assist orphans stricken with AIDS in the destitute kingdom of Lesotho.
Other highlights of this year’s Show include an exhibit by the creator of the iconic Tower of London poppy installation. Paul Cummins is displaying an eight metre-tall tulip sculpture. The sculpture will be covered with thousands of hand-painted ceramic tulips.
“Following the success of Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, I was delighted to have been invited by the RHS to show a new piece of art. The new sculpture has been inspired by tulips as well as the Dutch tulipomania of the 17th century, which saw single tulip bulbs exchanged for the price of houses,” Mr Cummins stated.
Besides the numerous incredible offerings to view, two not to be missed gardens this year include, The Runnymede Surrey Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Garden and The Chorley Council: The Evaders Garden.
The Runnymede Magna Carta Garden commemorates Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary. Designed by A Touch of France Garden Design, the formal layout of the garden is reminiscent of the medieval period. The gardens arrangement is evocative of the new law and order upon the sealing of Magna Carta in 1215.
The Chorley Council: The Evaders Garden commemorates the end of the World War II, and its 70th anniversary this year. The designers father, Stan Everiss, was an RAF evader after he was shot down in 1943. The garden represents his incredible story.
The garden contains a sculpture of a flyer moments after parachuting into France and hiding in the remains of a church damaged by the war. A poem lists the names of resistance fighters who lost their lives alongside a wall. After the show, the garden will move to its permanent location in Astley Park, Chorley, as a war memorial.
During her visit, The Queen was presented with a bouquet by the RHS Young School Gardener of the Year.
The Queen, who is Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, frequently is present for the opening of the show, which launches with Press Day on Monday with two private views for RHS members that follow.
Other members of the Royal Family joined Her Majesty for the show’s opening. Those in attendance on Monday were The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Princess Royal, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
After the visit by The Queen, members of the Royal Family and RHS members, the show then is open to the public until the final day, which falls on Saturday.
Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood began The Royal Horticultural Society in 1804 under the name The Horticultural Society of London. Their goal was to gather information about various plants and try to advance the practise of horticultural throughout the country.
Due to the lack of finances and declining membership the Society faced a financial crisis in the 1850s. The Society had to sell contents of its library that held numerous rare books and drawings.
In 1861, Prince Albert came to the rescue of the Society by granting a Royal charter as President. The group was renamed The Royal Horticultural Society and a new garden in Kensington which become its headquarters until 1888. The Society grew and thrived with the help of Prince Albert.
The show moved from Kensington in 1888 and was held at Temple garden until 1913 when it moved to the grounds of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea hence it’s famous name: The Chelsea Flower Show.
One of the most exceptional displays in the history of the show was the 1937 Coronation Empire Exhibition. It was designed to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI. The exhibits included plants representing various parts of the Commonwealth.
In 1953, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was of course reason for a flower show that echoed the festive tone of the country. As most members of the Royal Family were in attendance that year, Her Majesty due to various commitments was, unfortunately, unable to attend.
The Chelsea Flower Show runs until Saturday 23rd May.
Photo Credits: Victoria Murphy @QueenVicMirror