Princess of Wales joins Chelsea Flower Show’s first children’s picnic
The Princess of Wales made a surprise appearance at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Monday, where she joined school pupils at the event’s first ever Children’s Picnic.
She met youngsters from 10 schools taking part in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening as they sat down to eat, before visiting three of this year’s Show Gardens with them.
On Kate’s first visit to the world-famous horticultural show since 2019, the future queen and the children took part in a bug hunt, helped to plan a home-grown meal and discovered how gardens can support wellbeing – something the Princess has been highlighting for several years.
In The Royal Entomological Society Garden, Kate and the children enjoyed an “insect eye view” of the landscape, which was designed by RHS Chelsea gold medal winner Tom Massey.
Inspired by the rich biodiversity found in area of wasteland, microscopes in an outdoor lab built into a hillside are linked to a movable projector screen, magnifying insects and other bugs for study and identification.
The lab’s roof is inspired by a compound insect eye made up of permeable “modules” for insects to enter.
They also visited The Samaritans Listening Garden, which is designed to be a safe space for people to share their struggles.
Designed by Darren Hawkes, the space represents an emotional journey, moving from chaos and overwhelm through to a calming and tranquil area. Sculptural oak seats serve as places to talk and listen or reflect on conversations.
Parts of the garden are destined for a permanent site at Samaritans in Truro, with more plants being sent to other branches of the charity.
The Princess and the children also enjoyed the outdoor kitchen at The Savills Garden, a blend of ornamental and edible planting designed by RHS gold medal winner Mark Gregory.
Guests at the “edimentals” garden can enjoy “plot-to-plate” meals prepared with ingredients from the potager and walled garden.
Pupils taking part in the picnic came from schools including Cameron Vale School, Alec Reed Academy, St George’s CofE Primary School, St Augustine’s CofE Primary, Falconbrook Primary School, Christ Church CofE Primary School, Glenbrook Primary School, St Mary’s CofE Primary School, St George’s Church of England Primary School and Laycock Primary School.
The picnic aims to bring gardening and nature into the lives of more children, a topic Kate has been passionate about for several years.
In 2019 she launched her RHS Back to Nature gardens at Chelsea and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, in collaboration with the landscape architects Davies White, to highlight the importance of spending time outdoors to a child’s development.
She later opened a permanent Back to Nature play garden at RHS Garden Wisley.
Spending time outdoors allows children to build their confidence, develop independence and learn how to forge relationships with others, all skills which help shape their adult lives.
This year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show features 12 show gardens and more than 70 nurseries in the Great Pavilion.