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Queen set to miss ‘world’s best loved’ Chelsea Flower Show for first time in 16 years

Queen joins Kate Middleton at the Chelsea Flower Show

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The monarch, 95, will reportedly miss this year’s Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show as the royal is currently at Balmoral. Other members of the Royal Family still plan on attending the event, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra.

The RHS annual event, beloved by Her Majesty, was moved from its original date in May due to Covid restrictions.

At the time ​​Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, spoke about postponing the famous event: “In these challenging times we have always followed Government advice and made difficult, responsible decisions with the health and safety of people our key concern. 

“Whilst we are sad to have had to delay RHS Chelsea and are sorry for the disruption this will cause, we are excited that we are still planning to bring the world’s best loved gardening event to the nation at a time when more people are gardening more than ever.”

The Queen has rarely missed a show and this will be the first time in 16 years where she will not be seen at the event.

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Since becoming monarch in 1953, the Queen is thought to have missed only ten shows.

The most recent Chelsea Flower Show when the Queen was absent in 2005, Her Majesty was visiting Canada.

The Queen became patron of the RHS Chelsea Flower show in 1952 and is reportedly one of the first guests to turn up to the show on the first day.

The RHS has said that the monarch brings in crowds of up to 157,000 every year.

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This year’s event is held from Tuesday, September 21, but the royal remains in Balmoral as is customary for this time in the year.

The event was cancelled last year due to the pandemic – a historic move as the last time the show was cancelled was during the Second World War.

The first show was known as the Great Spring Show and was on May 20, 1913.

While the King and Queen were not present for the debut show over a century ago, the King’s Mother, Queen Alexandra, attended with two of her children.

At the 2021 show, visitors are able to see gardens where the “very best garden designers gather to showcase cutting-edge design and ideas”.

“RHS Chelsea is being held in September for the first time meaning it coincides with the Chelsea History Festival, held at three major heritage sites along the Royal Hospital Road, including the Royal Hospital Chelsea,” the RHS website describes.

“Hear the Chelsea Pensioners reflect on their involvement in the Korean War, take a tour of the Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical garden, or join Jonathan Dimbleby and Andrew Roberts as they discuss Operation Barbarossa.”

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