Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attended the South of England Show in West Sussex earlier today – and ended up ‘knighting’ a farmer with a leek!
The visit marked the 25th time that a member of a the Royal Family has attended the annual agricultural show at Ardingly. Over the last 10 years, the show has attracted over 3.5 million visitors.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the show, which is organised and run by the South of England Agricultural Society charity. The Chairman of the society, Charlie Burgoyne said, “We are honoured to welcome our president, the Duchess of Cornwall, to our 50th South of England Show, which will showcase the best of British agriculture, horticulture, forestry and equestrianism as well as delicious food and drink.”
“It’s an extremely special year for the society and we hope that Her Royal Highness will enjoy some of the spectacular displays that will be featured across the showground.”
During her visit Camilla met with farmers and their livestock, before talking to schoolchildren from the local area. After this, the Duchess unveiled a permanent record of the achievements of the society from the past 50 years.
Camilla handled a giant stick insect before getting up close with Solomon the spiny tailed Lizard. “They are quite big”, she said, before stating: “I think that’s quite enough excitement for one day!”
The Duchess was also shown other traditional Show animals such as horses and pigs. The show’s most prominent events, however, are the equestrian displays. The displays feature over 1,500 horses and ponies. Guests can also enjoy tasting food from all over the South East of England.
Then, a rather strange encounter! The Duchess was approached by a farmer who asked her to knight him, and handed her a leek to do so. The farmer knelt before Camilla, where she touched his right shoulder with the vegetable. The man then replied, “Is that it? Just the one shoulder? Oh, you’re not The Queen, you can’t do two!” He went on to say, “I’ve come in my thigh high rubber, just for you madam!”
The Duchess laughed and replied, “Very smart.”
The visit was Camilla’s first official visit to the show; she was not accompanied by her husband, The Prince of Wales.
The Duchess grew up in the countryside, and learned to ride ponies at local clubs in Plumpton. Hence, she has been very supportive of farmers and agriculture over the years, and has encouraged young children to learn more about healthy eating and sustainable living.
Her chosen charity for this year’s show is Brooke, an international charity which supports animal welfare. The charity has had The Queen as its patron, ever since The Queen’s first visit to the show in 1974.
The show began on 6th June, and today was its final day. The South of England Agricultural Society wants to show its support for the next generation of agriculture enthusiasts, especially younger generations. Over the past two days, hundreds of students from Sussex schools and colleges have been involved in exhibits at the show.