Bosses at the Chelsea Flower Show said today that they are ‘looking forward to seeing’ the Queen this afternoon amid hopes the 96-year-old monarch will be well enough to attend a royal preview tour.
The head of state has attended the world-famous event in London run by the Royal Horticultural Society, of which she is a patron, more than 50 times in her 70-year reign – but recent ill health has made her presence uncertain.
Buckingham Palace said last Thursday that the Queen still hoped to visit the event at Royal Hospital Chelsea today, but a final decision is expected to be taken today as to whether she will go amid her continuing mobility issues.
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 are all confirmed attendees today ahead of tomorrow’s official opening. MailOnline has contacted the palace today to ask whether the Queen will attend.
Sue Biggs, director general of the Royal Horticultural Society, said today that the Queen is ‘the most special person to us’ and that there were tributes to her long reign ‘everywhere you go’ around the show.
Queen Elizabeth II unveils a plaque to mark the Elizabeth line’s official opening at London Paddington station on May 17, 2022
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Garden, a design surrounded by 70 terracotta pots each planted with lily of the valley created by Simon Lycett, and representing each year of her reign, is displayed during the press day at the Chelsea Flower Show today
Plans of a floral sculptural portrait of the Queen which will be among the tributes to the monarch at the Chelsea Flower Show
Plans of a monument amid woodlands which will be among the tributes to the Queen in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee
Plans for ‘Natural Perspectives’ which pays homage to the Balmoral area and features the Queen’s image in pressed petals
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘There is a whole display of different signatures. So we had a signature, which is a painting just for one member of the Royal Family, of their favourite flowers, and so we have that at the show today. And the Queen is the only queen in history who has had three signatures painted.
‘So we hope she’s going to be well enough to be able to come and see us today, and we look forward to seeing her and showing her the signature later on this afternoon, 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 walk through this show – whether you’re at the amazing 39 gardens or at the 80 exhibits in the Great Pavilion – of seeing everybody’s love for the Queen and tribute to the Queen on this very, very special occasion.’
She said other tributes included one by renowned florist Simon Lycett, who has created many arrangements for the Royal Family, and has designed a special silhouette of the Queen in the official Platinum Jubilee shade of purple.
It will be covered on both sides with an assortment of native British-grown tree branches with connecting inner shelves arranged with 70 terracotta pots, hand-made in Warwickshire, and planted with Lily of the Valley, one of the Queen’s favourite plants which featured in her Coronation bouquet.
Mr Lycett told the Daily Telegraph it would be ‘utterly overwhelming and magical’ if the Queen saw his tribute in person, adding: ‘It would be totally special, and a delicious cherry on top of what is already a rather gorgeous cake.’
Her Majesty was unable to attend the State Opening of Parliament on May 10. However, she was in good enough health to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 13 and then on May 17 opened the new London railway line, the ‘Elizabeth line’, which has been named in her honour and will open to the public tomorrow.
The Queen’s surprise appearance to open the line at Paddington station, which will begin services to and from Abbey Wood tomorrow, boosted hopes she will be able to join festivities for the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.
The Queen is shown around a display with the Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019
The Queen smiles as she looks at a display of roses during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May 2018
Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London in May 1971. The Queen has been the Royal Horticultural Society’s royal patron since 1952 and was a regular visitor to the garden show with her parents as a child
Visitors will also be transported to one of the head of state’s favourite places in honour of her 70 years on the throne, with one setting inspired by the colours of the Balmoral countryside.
Florist Simon Lycett said it would be ‘utterly overwhelming and magical’ if the Queen saw his tribute in person today
An installation by floral designers Veevers Carter will feature a canopy of flowers including fresh Delphiniums, emulating the colours and planting of the Scottish landscape near the Royal Family’s Balmoral Castle estate in Aberdeenshire.
The area, Natural Perspectives, will offer visitors an ‘an ambient soundscape’ and visual projections of wildlife, leading to a large-scale portrait of the Queen made from dried pressed flowers that have been collected and re-used from the designers’ previous events.
In the show’s Great Pavilion, the monument will be surrounded by a photography exhibition of the Queen visiting the show throughout her reign.
With a calm and serene environment, it will be set against a colour palette of white, green, purple and blue plants to reflect the tones found in natural woodlands.
An archway of royal emblems reminiscent of a countryside meadow by Lucy Vail Floristry will decorate the Bullring Gate.
It will include three wicker crowns covered in sweet peas and columns abundant with foxgloves, geraniums, and irises.
Members of the royal family traditionally tour the gardens at Chelsea. Among the displays will be The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Garden, which will feature laser-cut steel silhouettes of the monarch, surrounded by 70 planted terracotta pots, representing each year of her reign.
The RAF Benevolent Fund Garden will hark back to the Battle of Britain in celebration of the support the charity has provided to RAF personnel, veterans and their families for over 100 years.
Preparations for the Chelsea Flower Show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London are pictured last Wednesday
A worker in The Mind Garden designed by Andy Sturgeon, over the weekend ahead the Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Christine Poppelwell puts finishing touches on the ‘Meta Garden: Growing the Future’ garden at the show over the weekend
The royals will also be shown The Mind Garden, which provides a colourful place for people to connect and open up. It will later be transported to a local Mind organisation, providing eco-therapy for those with mental health problems.
The gardening extravaganza is returning to its May dates for the first time since the pandemic. In 2021 it was held in September, a first for the show, and in 2020 it was cancelled.
The Queen has been the RHS’s royal patron since 1952 and was a regular visitor to the garden show with her parents as a child.
Helena Pettit, director of RHS Gardens and Shows: ‘This year’s RHS Chelsea is going to be particularly special as we celebrate this historic anniversary for Her Majesty and as the show returns in May following the pandemic.
‘These imaginative floral tributes are a fitting and joyful representation of a truly unique monarch, and we hope visitors will enjoy seeing them at the show in the lead up to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.’