Princess of Wales joins first RHS Chelsea Children’s Picnic

A delightful royal surprise for the school children taking part in the first-ever event of its kind

Children exploring vegetable beds
HRH The Princess of Wales joined in with the youngsters, going on a bug hunt and looking around the show gardens as well as answering all their questions from: “What’s it like to be a princess?” to “What’s your favourite colour?”

We hope this picnic represents a beginning for children to connect to nature through a love of gardening

In 2019 the Princess co-designed the RHS Back to Nature  garden at RHS Chelsea which was created as a family space, inspired by childhood memories and, along with a series of how-to-guides, aimed at getting children involved in gardening.

The children and their royal guest also spent time on Darren Hawkes’ Samaritans Listening Garden, reflecting Princess Catherine’s focus on gardening for wellbeing and her championing of mental health issues.

Princess Catherine with children at RHS Chelsea 2023

Children and horticulture

It’s the first time children have been invited to take part in RHS Chelsea and RHS Director General Clare Matterson sees it as highlighting the importance of engaging young people and sparking a lifelong adventure with gardening.
Clare said: “With the huge issues facing future generations of mental health, a changing climate and loss of biodiversity, we hope this picnic represents a beginning for children to connect to nature through a love of gardening. Having picked up my first gardening trowel as a young child, this is a really important moment for me as we plan the future direction of the RHS.”

Who went to the picnic?

RHS Director General Claire Matteson CBEIn its first year, 100 children attended the picnic – 10 schools in London who are part of the RHS’ Campaign for School Gardening were invited to bring 10 of their pupils to visit the show on Monday 22 May. 

Clare Matterson said: “With RHS Chelsea being the world’s greatest gardening show, this will also shine a light on all we do as a charity through our campaigns, gardens and other shows to bring gardening into the lives of millions of children.”

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.