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Updated: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to visit the Chelsea Flower Show

Her Majesty and Prince Philip visited the Chelsea Flower Show on Monday, 19th May 2014. What began as an international horticultural exhibition organised by the Royal Horticultural Society on the Royal Hospital, Chelsea grounds in 1912 has turned into a major springtime event.

The Chelsea Flower Show is a yearly event in late May that has been pencilled in the Royal’s calendar since 1913 with the exception of a few years during World War I and World War II.

The Queen, who is Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, frequently is present for the opening of the show, which launches with Press Day on Monday with two private views for RHS members that follow.

Other members of the Royal Family joined Her Majesty for the show’s opening. After the visit by The Queen, members of the Royal Family and RHS members, the show then is open to the public until the final day, which falls on Saturday.

Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood began The Royal Horticultural Society in 1804 under the name The Horticultural Society of London. Their goal was to gather information about various plants and try to advance the practise of horticultural throughout the country.

The Queen and Prince Phlip-Chelsea Garden Show

Due to the lack of finances and declining membership the Society faced a financial crisis in the 1850s. The Society had to sell contents of its library which held numerous rare books and drawings.

In 1861, Prince Albert came to the rescue of the Society by granting a Royal charter as President. The group would be renamed The Royal Horticultural Society and a new garden in Kensington which become its headquarters until 1888. The Society grew and thrived with the help of Prince Albert.

The show moved from Kensington in 1888 and was held at Temple garden until 1913 when it moved to the grounds of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea hence it’s famous name: The Chelsea Flower Show.

One of the most exceptional displays in the history of the show was the 1937 Coronation Empire Exhibition. It was designed to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI. The exhibits included plants representing various parts of the Commonwealth.

In 1953 the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was of course reason for a flower show that echoed the festive tone of the country. As most members of the Royal Family were in attendance that year, Her Majesty due to various commitments was unfortunately unable to attend

2013 commemorated the centennial of the show and Prince Harry contributed to part of the design. Working with his charity Sentebale, Harry designed an African inspired garden to bring to light the work his charity undertakes to assist orphans striken with AIDS in in destitute kingdom of Lesotho.

Featured photo credit: Birmingham Culture and Karen Roe via photopin cc

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