The show is very much considered Britain's undisputed horticultural event and known globally for its spectacular floral displays. It is also considered a staple on the royal calendar thanks to Her Majesty's patronage of the Royal Horticultural Society, and the show has been attended by countless royals over the years. Since the Queen's ascension to the throne in 1952, she has only missed it five times.
The Cambridges arrived with Prince Harry, who is becoming a regular at the event. Last year Harry was involved in a garden created for his charity Lesotho; at his request it featured plants that are both native to the UK and Lesotho.
There's been much speculation as to why William and Kate haven't previously attended, a spokesman said it was due to "diary issues. This year the diary has worked out fine and especially in the Queen’s 90th year, Their Royal Highness were keen to join her."
There was quite the royal guest list for this year's opening with other members of the Royal family present, including Prince Philip, the Duke of York and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, Princess Anne, the Countess of Wessex, the Gloucesters, the Kents, and Princess Alexandra.
A gorgeous shot of William and Kate.
The prestigious Chelsea Flower Show has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two world wars. It is attended by 157,000 visitors annually with tickets purchased in advance. Highlights of the show include avant-garde show gardens, and smaller artisan and urban-inspired gardens.
Preparations have been underway for some time.
This year's show was another visual feast featuring cutting-edge gardens from world renowned designers. One of the reasons for the large royal turnout was surely down to the selection of tributes for the Queen's 90th birthday.
To mark the occasion, the RHS installed a magnificent floral arch at the Bull Ring Gate entrance.
A photographic exhibition celebrating the Queen's regular visits to the flower show was on display.
Her Majesty enjoyed the displays.
The royals viewed a selection of exhibits.
Perhaps the most poignant of the displays was the '5000' poppies, an Australian community tribute for those who have served their country in wars and conflicts.
Designer Phillip Johnson - who won Best Show Garden in 2013 - is the creator behind the exhibit. Using almost 300,000 individually crocheted poppies, Phillip’s garden design covers nearly 2,000 sq m of the grounds.
More on the poppies from the RHS website:
'Phillip has collaborated with the 5000 Poppies Project on the design of his spectacular tribute garden. The design stems from an installation at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Anzac Day 2015.
Creators of the 5000 Poppies project, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, initially set out to crochet 120 poppies to honour their fathers who both fought in the Second World War, but this quickly escalated into a final total well in excess of quarter of a million poppies from an estimated 50,000 contributors. It captured the hearts and imaginations of people from all over the world, and inspired Phillip to present the collection at Chelsea this year.
The poppies have been beautifully handmade as a tribute to those who served in all wars, creating a thread of connection to servicemen and women in the armed forces. Each of the hand-knitted and crocheted flowers was individually crafted by people from a range of cultures, and communities and ages, from two to 102 years old.'
The Countess of Wessex views the poppies. Sophie looked elegant in the Floral Ruffle Dress by Kate's favourite brand Alexander McQueen.
William and Kate were particularly keen to see one flower in contention for the coveted 'Flower of the Year' award - the Princess Charlotte Chrysanthemum.
Produced by Dutch company Deliflor, the world's largest chrysanthemum breeder, the flower is helping Kate's patronage East Anglia's Children's Hospices to bloom, with the charity receiving 50% of all royalties from sales.
The royals enjoyed the beautiful display at East Anglia's Children's Hospices garden.
Peeking to see a display.
This photo begs a caption contest :)
The Duchess was pictured grabbing a hanky from her clutch. I expect Kate may have encountered a touch of hay fever from the pollen.
The theme of this year's show will champion the health and wellbeing benefits of greening-up our grey spaces.
As a lover of flowers, plants and nature, it is always such a treat to see concept images of the displays. Below, a look at the Harrods British Eccentrics Garden by Diarmuid Gavin. It is inspired by kinetic sculpture from some of the UK’s most imaginative minds. Elaborate machinery performing simple tasks has become associated with Britishness.
A look at the garden today.
Absolutely stunning, aren't they? Let's look at another design - the LG Smart Garden, which is inspired by the concept of intelligent homes and is intended to demonstrate that technology can be incorporated harmoniously into the garden as well as the house. You can view all the gardens on the official website.
Emily Nash shared this tidbit from the show.
|Emily Nash Twitter Feed|
Afterwards, the royal party attended a private reception, at the newly named Queen Elizabeth II pavilion.
I had a feeling the Duchess would repeat a previously seen look today, however, I thought we might see one of her floral-print dresses. Instead Kate surprised us by bringing back the bespoke grass-green coatdress by Catherine Walker, first worn for engagements in Canberra in 2014.
The garment incorporates elements of both the Evelyn Coatdress and the Lara Coardress. The Evelyn is described: "The sharp and precisely cut shoulders of this grass green Venetian wool coatdress are softened by the sinuous neckline and full A-line skirt with hand pick stitching." As you can see the neckline on Kate's has been altered, whilst the Lara features the distinctive high neck and zipper.
I must admit the coatdress was my least favourite piece worn during the tour (if I recall correctly it received the least number of votes in our tour polls) and seeing it again today I can't say it's grown on me. I think it's the combination of the fabric, the buckled belt, the high neck, and the very vivid colour. Has it grown on you?
The Duchess accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Lauren earrings.
And carried her new £185 L.K. Bennett Nina Clutch.
It looks like Kate completed the look with her L.K. Bennett Fern pumps.
Also today, to mark Children's Hospice Week, the Duchess sent a message of support to East Anglia's Children's Hospices. In the letter, Kate praised the work of hospices: "The amazing, and life changing support provided by children's hospices and palliative care charities across the UK offers a lifeline to families under incredible pressure."
Children's Hospice Week runs from 23 - 29 May. You can read more about it here.
The Queen is hosting her final garden party for this year at Buckingham Palace tomorrow. I think it very likely Kate will be in attendance.