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The Queen makes first appearance since royal wedding at the Chelsea Flower Show

The royal family were out in full force for the opening day of the annual horticultural event

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Just 48 hours after she hosted 600 guests at Windsor Castle to celebrate the marriage of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Queen was all smiles as she arrived at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with her family. She was joined at the colourful event by the Duke of York and Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne the Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra. Wearing a double wool crepe coat in pale pink by Stewart Parvin and a matching silk floral print dress, she walked down a vibrant floral carpet at the Royal Hospital Chelsea with her hosts Sir Nicholas Bacon, President of the Royal Horticultural Society and Sue Biggs, its Director General. Sir Nicholas, who was a guest at the Royal Wedding on Saturday, was heard remarking that it had been "wonderful."

Her Majesty, whose favourite flower is thought to be the rose, stopped to chat to Ian Limmer, nursery manager for Peter Beales Roses, admiring the Sandringham, Ely Cathedral and Fragrant Celebration varieties. He said: "She said the scent was amazing, which is lovely because you don’t smell them after a while when you work with them all the time." Referring to her outing just after the Royal Wedding, he added: "She’s had a busy week and she’s doing amazingly well."

The Queen looked lovely in pink at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

At the Wuhan Water Garden, which showcases the natural landscape of Hubei Province, China, the monarch was presented with a silk scarf painted with whales and the message Keep the smile Forever, as well as a posy of red and pink peonies – a symbol of wealth and honour. Her Majesty stopped at the RHS Feel Good Garden, designed to celebrate 70 years of the National Health Service and highlight the positive impact of horticulture on mental health.

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She also visited the Welcome to Yorkshire Garden, inspired by the famous Yorkshire Dales, which featured a pretty stone hut and a flowing stream. As she approached, her daughter Princess Anne was emerging from the building, having sampled a piece of Wensleydale cheese inside. The Duke of York had earlier called Princess Beatrice inside to try it. She told the Queen: "There’s real cheese inside."

The Queen had attended her grandson Prince Harry's royal wedding just 48 hours before

Designer Mark Gregory said of the Queen’s reaction: "She loved it, she thought it was enchanting. She loved the sound of the babbling water." At the Trailfinders South African Wine Estate garden, Her Majesty admired a miniature Cape Dutch homestead with a terracotta-tiled terrace leading to a formal, romantic garden and the wild "fynbos"(corr) landscape – a kind of shrubland – which designer Jonathan Snow had burned to release the seeds from the bulbs. He said: "She thought it was very interesting and she loved the architecture, she said it was very charming, she liked the homestead."

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One of her final stops was at the Lemon Tree Trust Garden, which is inspired by refugees living in Domiz camp in Northern Iraq. In features everyday materials such as tin cans and bottles used as plant containers, replicating the way the camp’s inhabitants grow flowers to improve their surroundings. Designer Tom Massey said: "I told her about the way refugees repurpose every day objects to create gardens." He said plants such as the fig trees, lemon trees and Damascus rose had "the power to transport people to better times and remind them of things they have lost." Describing the Queen’s reaction, he said: "She thought it was fascinating."

Stephanie Hunt, co-founder of the Lemon Tree Trust, which helps refugees to grow food and other plants to boost their wellbeing, said: "To be at Chelsea is a dream and to have a visit from the Queen – I can’t describe it." The Queen, who is patron of the RHS, and other family members attended a private reception before leaving.

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