The 2020 virtual Chelsea Flower Show

A message from The Queen

The Queen, Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, has sent the gardening charity a message on the first day of the virtual Chelsea Flower Show:

On the occasion of the Opening of the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show 2020, I send my best wishes to all those associated with the Royal Horticultural Society.

My family and I have always enjoyed visiting the Show, and I know that your Members and Supporters will be disappointed that they are unable to attend in person this year.

As Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, I was pleased to hear that you will be providing gardening advice and virtual sessions on your website, from Monday 18th to Saturday 23rd May.

I am sure that my grandmother, Queen Mary, who first attended the Chelsea Flower Show in 1916, would be delighted that many people today have an enthusiasm for horticulture, and that gardening remains a popular pastime in the United Kingdom.

As you adapt to the present circumstances, I hope you find this unique event enjoyable and interesting.  


The Chelsea Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgewood. The charity aims to enrich lives through plants and make the UK a greener place.

The Chelsea Flower Show

Known then as the Great Spring Show, the first Chelsea Flower Show took place in 1913 and was attended by Queen Alexandra. 

Queen Alexandra at the Chelsea Flower Show

The Show has since been visited by many members of The Royal Family, including The Queen's grandparents King George V and Queen Mary.

King George and Queen Mary at the Chelsea Flower Show

Her Majesty became Patron of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1952, after ascending to the throne. The Queen made her first visit to Chelsea as Monarch in 1955, and has attended most years since.

The Queen attends the Chelsea Flower Show for the first time, 1955

During the Second World War, the show was cancelled and instead the RHS focussed on their ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, showing people how to grow food at home. 

Dig for Victory poster

Once again, the Chelsea Flower Show is adapting to uncertain times. 

This year marks the first ‘virtual’ show, with all activities moving online. In many ways, this means that more people than ever will have access to the garden inspiration and tips. 

For six days in May (18th-23rd), the RHS will celebrate the essence of Chelsea with a packed timetable of events. 

Read more about the history of the Chelsea Flower Show. 


On the first day of the virtual Chelsea Flower Show members of the Royal Family are taking part in the #MyChelseaGarden campaign, sharing some of their favourite plants and flowers at this time of year.

As this year's show coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, the Royal Horticultural Society are encouraging people to brighten their social media feeds with positive images of plants and gardens, to provide a moment of respite in these challenging times.

The Queen has chosen lily of the valley, pictured here in the Buckingham Palace gardens. 

Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley featured in Her Majesty’s coronation bouquet and has held special associations since.

The Queen's Coronation

The Queen receives a lily of the valley posy

The Prince of Wales has chosen delphiniums, pictured here in the Highgrove Gardens in 2019. 

His Royal Highness said:

For me, the magnificent, gloriously apparelled delphinium, with its impeccable bearing and massed in platoons, holds pride of place in my botanical affections.


The Duchess of Cornwall has opted for Alchemilla Mollis, saying:

This acid green fluffy - flowered plant is one of the best ever foliage plants for the garden and the vase. A must for every gardener...'

Alchemical Mollis

The Princess Royal has selected hellebores:

Not only do they flower early but they keep flowering for two months, and they are often beautifully marked with endless variations.

The Princess Royal's hellebores

The Earl and Countess of Wessex are pleased to share this image of azaleas which are “so breath-taking at this time of year and have the most intoxicating scent.” 

Azaeleas captured by The Countess of Wessex

The Duke of Gloucester has shared his image of daisies, which His Royal Highness enjoys digging up from between the paving stones and transferring elsewhere to grow properly and healthily. 


The Duchess of Gloucester has shared an image of one of her favourite flowers at this time of year, sweet peas. Her Royal Highness also enjoyed weaving the wicker trellis supports that you can see in the image.

The Duchess of Gloucester's image of

Princess Alexandra has selected the Golden Celebration rose, saying:

This Golden Celebration rose gives great pleasure to look at and has the most extraordinary and unique scent.

Princess Alexandra

Join the #MyChelseaGarden initiative by sharing your images (and positivity!) online.