The Queen was ‘in quite a lot pain’ sources say
Her Majesty has attended the Chelsea Flower Show more than 50 times during her seven-decade-long reign. However, given her episodic mobility issues, the Queen’s presence at today’s event is still uncertain.
But one of the leading personalities behind the show revealed they still hope the sovereign will be able to head to London this afternoon for the much-loved event, saying they are “looking forward to seeing” the Queen.
Buckingham Palace said last Thursday the monarch was still hoping to pay a visit to the preview tour.
However, her attendance has not been confirmed to leave the monarch with enough wiggle room to be able to pull out of the trip to the capital last minute if she doesn’t feel up for it.
Other working and not-working members of the Firm will be in attendance, including the Queen’s younger son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The Queen hasn’t confirmed her attendance at today’s Chelsea Flower Show
Sophie Wessex at last week’s garden party at Buckingham Palace
One of Her Majesty’s granddaughters, Princess Beatrice, and her cousins the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are also to head to the event.
Sue Biggs, director-general of the Royal Horticultural Society, described the Queen as “the most special person to us” ahead of this year’s show’s launch.
She also revealed tributes for the sovereign and her groundbreaking reign will be found throughout the floral exhibition.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “There is a whole display of different signatures.
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The Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016
“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.
“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.”
The Queen with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019
Chelsea Flower Show organisers still hope the Queen will attend today’s event
For this year’s show, taking place just days prior to the extended bank holiday weekend during which the country will come together to mark the Platinum Jubilee, renowned florist Simon Lycett created a special arrangement shaped as a silhouette of the monarch.
The florist, who has created several arrangements for the Royal Family over the years, told the Telegraph it would be “totally special” if the Queen could see in person his work this year.
The Queen missed last year’s Chelsea Flower Show as it took place in September, when she was still in Balmoral.
Platinum Jubilee events planned
But she attended the last edition to take place before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time, she visited the concept garden created by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, which aimed to inspire people to spend more time in the great outdoors.
The Queen missed the State Opening of Parliament on May 10, which was attended on her behalf by Prince Charles alongside Prince William and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
But she surprised royal fans by stepping out of her castle on May 13 to attend the second day of events at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which takes place every year on the grounds of her Berkshire estate.
The Queen at the A Gallop Through History performance
The monarch was also among the special guests on the final night of A Gallop Through History, the first major event celebrating her Jubilee.
The outstanding show also took place near her castle and featured more than 500 horses and 1000 performers – including Lady Louise Windsor, who led a parade aboard a carriage once owned by Prince Philip.
On May 17, the Queen took royal fans by surprise once again as she headed to Paddington Station in London for the official launch of the new rail line named after her, the Elizabeth line.