I had the privilege of meeting Queen Elizabeth II three times at Chelsea Flower Show. The show has been running for 110 years and the Queen visited over 50 times. So she was there for nearly half of them. The respect, and the knowledge of plants was something very important to her.
Back in the 80s, I had met the Queen Mother at Chelsea, and she was so kind to me, chatting to me just like my Gran. So, although I was a little nervous this experience, put me at ease when I had the honour of meeting Her Majesty the Queen.
The knowledge and enthusiasm about plants was something that took me quite off guard. In a very short period of time, rather than the Queen and myself, a designer, talking, it was just two enthusiastic gardeners sharing stories. Then, during our first meeting, I was put off by a loud noise. It turned out to be Concorde flying right overhead. The Queen said, ‘When I’m in Windsor, I can almost set my watch to Concorde, it’s always on time.’ I told her I’d never been on it, and she told me that I must, that it’s marvellous. I only wish that I had the chance to fly on Concorde, but it was decommissioned before I had the chance. But that moment, the Queen had shared with me was something that more than made up for it.