The Queen will attend a royal preview of the Chelsea Flower Show this afternoon ahead of its official opening tomorrow, Buckingham Palace confirmed after a last-minute decision to let her attend.
The head of state was in London for the world-famous event organised by the Royal Horticultural Society, where she is patron more than 50 times during her 70-year reign – but recent health conditions have made her presence uncertain.
But Buckingham Palace has now confirmed a final decision has been made that she will attend the event at Chelsea’s Royal Infirmary despite her mobility issues, saying on Thursday she still wanted to be there.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra have confirmed their attendance at this afternoon’s meeting.
Earlier, a royal source told the Daily Mail that attending the meeting was still the Queen’s “intent” and she was “on her way to London”, adding that it was “very likely” but “these things happen every day” It’s all being staged “and every hour”.
Sue Biggs, director-general of the Royal Horticultural Society, said this morning that the Queen was “the most special person to us”, with the show paying tribute to her long reign “everywhere”.
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She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: “There’s a whole show of different signatures. So we have a signature, it’s a painting of one of the royals’ favourite flowers, so we’re in It’s in today’s exhibition. And the Queen is the only Queen in history to have painted three signatures.
“So we hope she’ll be able to come and see us today and we’re looking forward to seeing her later this afternoon and showing her the autograph, which will be great.”
Sue Biggs, director-general of the Royal Horticultural Society, said today that the Queen is “the most special person to us”
“But you can’t get through this exhibition – whether you’re in the amazing 39 gardens or the 80 exhibits in the Great Pavilion – to see everyone’s love and love for the Queen on this very, very special occasion homage.” ‘
She said other tributes included the work of renowned florist Simon Lycett, who created many of the arrangements for the royal family and designed a special Queen silhouette in the official Platinum Jubilee shade of purple.
It will be covered on both sides with a variety of native British-grown branches, with internal shelves connected to 70 earthenware pots, handcrafted in Warwickshire and planted with lily of the valley, one of the Queen’s favourite plants , in her coronation bouquet.
Mr Lessett told The Telegraph that if the Queen saw his tribute in person, it would be “completely overwhelming and magical”, adding: “It would be completely special, in an already rather gorgeous cake. Top with delicious cherries.”
Her Majesty was unable to attend the opening of Parliament on May 10. She is, however, in good shape for the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 13, before the new London rail line, the Elizabeth Line, named after her, opens to the public tomorrow on May 17.
The Queen’s surprise appearance at Paddington Station to open the line, which will start services to and from Abbey Wood tomorrow, has boosted hopes she will be able to join the Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend festivities.
The Queen and the Duchess of Cambridge visit the exhibition during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019
The Queen smiles as she looks at the rose flower display during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London, May 2018
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May 1971.The Queen has been Royal Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society since 1952, and as a child often visited garden shows with her parents
Visitors will also be transported to one of the Head of State’s favourite places to mark her 70th anniversary in office, with an environment inspired by the colours of the Balmoral countryside.
Florist Simon Lessett said it would be ‘totally overwhelming and magical’ if the Queen saw his tribute in person today
Floral designer Veevers Carter’s installation will feature flowers including fresh delphiniums, mimicking the colours and plantings of the Scottish landscape near Royal Balmoral Castle estate in Aberdeenshire.
The natural viewing area will provide visitors with an “ambient soundscape” and visual projections of wildlife, resulting in a large-scale portrait of the Queen made from dry embossing collected and reused from the designer’s previous events.
In the large pavilion of the exhibition, around the monument will be an exhibition of photographs from the Queen’s visit to the exhibition during her reign.
In a tranquil and peaceful setting, it will be complemented by a palette of white, green, purple and blue plants to reflect the natural woodland tones.
Reminiscent of country meadows, the royal emblem arch, designed by Lucy Vail Floristry, will adorn the bullring gate.
It will include three wicker crowns covered with sweet peas, and columns overgrown with foxgloves, geraniums and irises.
Royals traditionally visit Chelsea’s gardens. These include the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Garden, which will feature a laser-cut steel silhouette of the monarch surrounded by 70 planted terracotta pots to represent each year of her reign.
The RAF Charities Garden will trace its roots back to the Battle of Britain to celebrate the charity’s over 100 years of support for RAF personnel, veterans and their families.
Preparing for the Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Chelsea Hospital in London last Wednesday
A worker at Andy Sturgeon’s Garden of the Mind, the weekend before the 2022 Chelsea Flower Show
Christine Poppelwell puts the finishing touches on ‘Meta Garden: Growing the Future’ at the weekend’s fair
Royals will also visit the Garden of Mind, which provides a colourful place for people to connect and open up. It will later be shipped to a local psychic organization that provides eco-therapy for people with mental health issues.
The gardening extravaganza is back in May for the first time since the pandemic. Held in September 2021, first held, cancelled in 2020.
The Queen has been the Royal Patron of the RHS since 1952, and as a child often visited garden shows with her parents.
Helena Pettit, Director of RHS Gardens and Shows: “This year’s RHS Chelsea will be extra special as we celebrate this historic anniversary for Her Majesty the Queen and as we move forward with the post-pandemic May The show is back.
“These imaginative floral tributes are fitting and joyful representations of a truly unique monarch, and we hope visitors will be able to see them at the show ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.”