he Queen has sent a message of support to gardeners involved in the “unique” RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show, which is being held online for the first time in the event's history this week.
As Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, the Queen usually visits the annual flower show accompanied by other members of the Royal Family.
In a statement released by Buckingham Palace today, the first day of the virtual show, The Queen sent her best wishes to all those associated with the RHS and said her grandmother Queen Mary, who first visited Chelsea Flower Show in 1916, would be delighted that gardening is still such a popular past time.
The Queen said: “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.
“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 past time in the United Kingdom.
“As you adapt to the present circumstances, I hope you find this unique event enjoyable and interesting.”
In recent years, members of the Royal Family have designed gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show. Last year saw the Duchess of Cambridge co-design the Back to Nature garden, centred around a treehouse with rope swing, with landscape architects Davies White.
The Queen was given a tour of the Back to Nature garden by the Duchess of Cambridge, and Kate and William’s three children played on the rope swing and in the treehouse — with Prince George telling his mother he would mark her efforts as “20 out of 10”.
In 2002, the Prince of Wales designed the Healing Garden in memory of his grandmother the Queen Mother.
This year, soon after the six-day event at the Royal Hospital Chelsea was cancelled due to Covid-19 lockdown, a packed programme of talks, tours and demonstrations was announced – kicking off today.
Each morning until Saturday 23 May, Virtual Chelsea will start with a garden tour, when well-known designers, florists and gardening personalities will open up their own gardens for viewers to take a look around.
Big names including some of the world's leading designers and plant experts will share their top design tips, favourite planting combinations and gardening trends with online viewers.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes video tours of award-winning nurseries will reveal how some of the world’s best-quality plants are grown.