The Queen was joined by a whole host of the Royal Family earlier this evening, as she attended the preview of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show. Prince Philip, The Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra.
Her Majesty has been patron of the show since she took the throne in 1952, and attends each year to see the displays.
It appears this year, however, The Queen has taken a renewed interest in gardening: Robert Hillier, chairman of Hillier Nurseries, was taken aback by her sudden interest and in-depth knowledge of the subject, including the latin names of plants.
Last year, she took on the renovation of Frogmore’s gardens at Windsor, and it seems this may have spurred on this new hobby.
He said: “She has never shown her knowledge before. We have met many times but suddenly she is so interested in plants and planting.
“She is really thrilled with the way Frogmore is developing. She has now got more ambitious and wants to do a lot more. She obviously enjoys going to Chelsea, but in the past she has not been so animated. She has got really into gardening. It’s never too late!”
The Duke of Edinburgh, meanwhile, discussed food with tv legend Mary Berry, who admitted he wasn’t a fan of kohlrabi, which is part of the cabbage family.
Mrs Berry said: “The Duke was asking about kohl rabi and he reckoned it was a bit wet and not full of flavour – and I think I agree with him.”
The Duchess of Cambridge arrived a little earlier, wearing an apt floral print dress. She got to see the William and Catherine rose named after her and her husband in honour of their 2011 nuptials.
In DJ Chris Evans’ garden for BBC Radio 2, Catherine was handed a tomato which she dropped, then promptly picked up and ate – just like the rest of us.
She then went on to discuss her gardening efforts with her children at Anmer Hall. “It makes such a difference when you take it from the ground,” Kate commented.
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie arrived with Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra; they too perused the displays of more than 500 exhibitors, which open to the public on Tuesday. The show takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
The York princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also seen again, they were there last year too. pic.twitter.com/Ahl6HZQkoU
— RoyalistSupporter (@ProRoyalFamily) May 22, 2017
The York sisters joined their mother, Sarah, for hospitality awards later that evening.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex took a tour of the displays; Sophie usually attends the annual horticultural event, but Prince Edward isn’t a firm fixture, so it was pleasant to see him there.
Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders were also at the exclusive viewing.