19 MAY 2009

Prince Charles has often been teased about admitting he talks to his plants at Highgrove. This week he had the last laugh when his commitment to gardening and the environment was recognised by an elite award.

His proud mum, the Queen, was called upon to do the honours in presenting the Prince with the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour.

The presentation was one of the highlights of the Chelsea Flower Show preview, which included an appearance from Rod Stewart and his wife Penny Lancaster, who popped along to the Highgrove stand.

Also looking around on preview day were Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy and Dame Helen Mirren. Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry, both of whom are known to be friendly with the heir to the throne, were in attendance, too.

At any one time only 63 horticulturalists – among them Alan Titchmarsh - hold the RHS award, which commemorates the reign of Queen Victoria.

Charles became the second member of his family to be granted the accolade, following his beloved grandmother, the late Queen Mother.

Photo: Getty Images
Twenty five years of interest in gardens and the environment were recognised when Charles' proud mother presented him with the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour at the Chelsea Flower Show
Photo: Getty Images
Friends of the Prince such as Rod Stewart and his wife Penny dropped round to inspect a stand showcasing plants from the Prince's organic garden at Highgrove, which features 30 varieties of endangered species
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