royals-gardening

Green-fingered royals who love gardening

From Prince Charles to the Duchess of Cambridge...

Natasha Hornsby

The royals gave us sneak peeks of their incredible homes and gardens during lockdown. While the Queen does have her own gardeners to ensure that her residences are kept in immaculate condition, there are quite a few green-fingered royals among the family.

Here we take a look at some of the most memorable royal gardens, from the Duchess of Cambridge's child-centred Back to Nature garden at last year's Chelsea Flower Show to the Queen's grounds at Buckingham Palace, and Prince Charles's stunning home Highgrove.

MORE: A closer look at the Sandringham farmhouse where Prince Philip has spent retirement

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WATCH: Take a peek inside Prince Charles' Birkhall garden

The Duchess of Cambridge

Kate's exhibit at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show was dedicated to encouraging children and families to spend time together in nature. This year she shared a throwback shot of herself during the five days she spent working alongside designers Andree Davies and Adam White.

Her garden, featuring a tree house, waterfall, rustic den and a campfire as well as tree stumps, stepping stones and a swing, got the ultimate seal of approve from Prince George and his siblings. Asked by William what mark he would give the play area, the little Prince replied: "Twenty out of ten."

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Kate's Back to Nature Garden at last year's Chelsea Flower Show 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

Prince Harry and Meghan are settling into their new home in Montecito in Santa Barbara, but one of their recent public appearances saw them get their fingers dirty for a special cause.

The Sussexes joined students and teachers at the Preschool Learning Center (a programme of the Assistance League of Los Angeles), for a morning of gardening, learning and fun in August.

In photos posted on Instagram, Harry and Meghan were both dressed casually and wore face masks for the visit, and helped the children plant a mix of flowers and vegetables, including petunias, California wildflowers, tomatoes, squash, sweet peas and more.

Their visit also fell on the same day as the 23rd anniversary of Princess Diana's death and to honour his mother, Harry planted her favourite flowers Forget-Me-Nots in her memory.

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The Sussexes might have moved to the US, but they still retain their UK residence at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor. 

Shortly after their son Archie's birth in May 2019, Meghan celebrated her first US Mother's Day and shared a photo of her baby's tiny toes as they took a walk in the garden. The sweet snap was taken against a beautiful backdrop of Forget-Me-Nots.

Prince Charles

The grounds of Highgrove, Charles's country home of 40 years, have actually been open to the public since 1994 as a way of raising funds for charity. The 15-acre terrain is a riot of colourful blooms, reflecting the royal heir's other passion, for watercolour painting.

"His Royal Highness has a wonderful eye for colour; he's an artist," head gardener Debs Goodenough has previously told HELLO! "He also weeds and loves pruning. He enjoys being outside in the garden, which he knows inside out."

Personal touches add to the charm – a summerhouse for reading, magical dells and a plaque commemorating Prince George's planting of a balsam poplar, which now stands over 30ft tall. Meanwhile, a bronze relief of the Queen Mother wearing her gardening hat and pearls is a tribute to the Prince's grandmother, who helped cultivate his horticultural passion.

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Prince Charles at Highgrove

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Thyme Walk features 20 varieties of fragrant herbs and two parallel rows of yew hedges, sculpted into eccentric shapes, such as a jester's hat and a Christmas pudding, topped by cream and a sprig of holly. The walled garden is a cornucopia of organic fruit and vegetables, some of which are sold in the shop onsite.

Most enchanting of all is the Carpet Garden, inspired by a Turkish rug, with a riot of purple clematis surrounding a burbling fountain, encapsulating the Islamic ideal that a garden should be a paradise on earth.

Princess Diana's memorial garden

Princes William and Harry have many special memories of the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, which is why they gave their blessing to its transformation into a White Garden in memory of their mother.

Twenty years after the People's Princess was lost to the world the plot was filled with predominantly white and cream flowers inspired by memories of Diana's life and style. These included William and Catherine roses, forget-me-nots and fragrant white roses.

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Harry and Meghan posed for their engagement photoshoot in Diana's memorial garden

Among the design team was Graham Dillamore, who worked at the Palace during the Princess's lifetime. Her boys, who fed the koi carp in the central pond as children, couldn't have been more pleased with the results.

"We're thrilled, Graham – 20 years on, it feels so appropriate," said William. Harry, of course, used the location to introduce the world to his beloved Meghan on the day of their engagement.

The Queen

Had she not been destined to be head of state, the Queen would have enjoyed life as a country lady pottering about amid dogs and horses. She's also extremely knowledgeable about plants and knows all their Latin names, says her friend Lady Elizabeth Anson.

For her 90th birthday her friends gave her plants to redevelop the 35-acre garden at Frogmore House, which is bursting with tulip trees, redwoods and wisteria.

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David Attenborough and the Queen in the grounds of Buckingham Palace

She also takes a close interest in the garden at Buckingham Palace, which is open to visitors during her annual summer parties. Viewers of a 2018 documentary by Sir David Attenborough also got a closer look at the 42-acre oasis of calm in the heart of London.

The pair were seen inspecting each of the trees planted to mark the birth of Her Majesty's children. Other highlights are an ornamental lake, a summerhouse and the Waterloo Vase, a 15-foot stone urn fashioned from a single piece of Carrara marble, the name of which refers to the famous victory over Napoleon.

The Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson

At Le Moulin de la Tuilerie just 30 minutes away from Paris, the former King and his wife created a rural idyll where they welcomed visitors such as Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, Henry Ford and Cecil Beaton.

The mill, one of four in the village of Gif-sur-Yvette, looked onto a river, on the other side of which was a steep wooded slope, which the Duke described with his wry English humour as 'Cardiac Hill'. On the hill amid azaleas are the graves of Wallis's pug dogs, which she stipulated could never be moved by future owners.

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The couple pictured in their French country home

Her husband is thought to have consulted celebrated landscape architect Russell Page on the layout of the grounds. The clashing pink valerians, red celosias and blue delphiniums suggest that the one-time monarch liked his flowers the way he liked his women, fiery and striking.

Even by the pool the royal heritage of their host was never far from visitors' minds: the emblem on the circular changing house for swimmers was a crown.

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