Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Harry gives garden tour for Queen

The Queen will get a preview of the Chelsea Flower Show
The Queen will get a preview of the Chelsea Flower Show

It was a family affair as Prince Harry showed the Queen around his charity Sentebale's garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The prince smiled broadly as he welcomed his grandmother into the B&Q Sentebale garden moments after also giving the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke of Edinburgh a guided tour.

Charles and Camilla were the first to be shown around by Harry, who greeted them both with kisses on each cheek. A large crowd of onlookers then laughed along with the royals as Philip joined the group - but had to be pointed out by Harry to Charles who let out a comical "oh" as he realised he was standing right in front of him.

Harry introduced his family to Jinny Blom, who designed the Forget-Me-Not garden, a contemporary interpretation of the South African country of Lesotho. As she met Charles, Ms Blom told him: "You've been lumbered with me as your favourite designer," a reference to her creating a garden with him in 2002.

The renowned landscape gardener was commissioned to create the garden to raise awareness of Sentebale, which helps vulnerable children in Lesotho. The word Sentebale means forget-me-not and also represents the loss of Harry's mother Diana, Princess of Wales, and the late mother of Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

As he showed his father and stepmother the garden, Harry joked: "If there's anything you like we can probably do a deal. You can't have it but we can probably do a deal." As Charles arrived at the exhibit, he said: "This is the great garden, is it? After all this effort I wondered if it didn't exist."

Harry, who looked smart in a dark blue suit in contrast to the jeans and yellow high-visibility jacket he wore when making a surprise visit to the site on Friday, told the Duke of Edinburgh he was surprised to see him there. "You're supposed to be looking at strimmers and tractors, grandpa," he said. "I didn't know you were coming, fantastic. Your opinion is highly regarded." He also asked his grandfather: "Are we going to see one of these at Sandringham or Balmoral?"

Harry spent a few minutes pointing out details in the garden to each of the members of his family with Ms Blom by his side. The designer previously said the presence of the forget-me-not in the garden acts as a memorial to both princes' mothers. A pattern based on the idea of hearts and crowns, cut into a floating stone in the middle of the garden, symbolises the prince and his loss, as well as the children in Lesotho who have lost their own parents. Despite the poignant meaning behind the garden, the mood remained light-hearted as Harry joked that the large stone circle they stood on in the middle could spin around and had flashing lights.

Speaking after the royal visit, Ms Blom said of the Queen: "She liked it. The Prince of Wales would like all the plants in the middle to go to the stumpery at Highgrove as he thinks they're great, and the Queen thinks he needs them." Ms Blom said Harry's family were proud of what he had achieved with the garden. "They understand," she said. "It's a tough brief getting the message of the charity across and everyone was very complimentary and pleased for Harry." Speaking of the circle in the garden, she added: "The Prince of Wales said 'shall we dance and will it spin round?'." Ahead of seeing the Sentebale garden the Queen was given a tour of the rest of the showground. Dressed in a lavender Karl Ludwig coat and wearing a brooch given to her by the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) at last year's show, she was guided around the central London site by its president, Elizabeth Banks.

Other royals including the the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex also attended the flower show on Monday evening. They followed a number of other famous faces including Joanna Lumley, Jamie Oliver and Emilia Fox who all attended the event earlier.

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