- The Queen’s Green Canopy
- First Tree Planting Season
- 70 Ancient Woodlands and 70 Ancient Trees
- The Platinum Jubilee and the QGC “Tree of Trees”
- Second Tree Planting Season
- The Queen's Green Canopy Legacy
The Queen’s Green Canopy
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) was a unique nationwide tree planting initiative created to mark Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
Across the United Kingdom, people from all walks of life were invited to “Plant a tree for the Jubilee” to create a legacy in honour of Her late Majesty’s leadership of the nation, to benefit future generations.
Following Queen Elizabeth’s passing, at the wish of the QGC Patron, His Majesty The King, the initiative was extended to March 2023 to give people an opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Her late Majesty.
Over the course of two tree planting seasons, the QGC created a living legacy of over three million trees planted across the nation as a lasting tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s extraordinary service to her country and her people.
The trees were proudly showcased on the interactive QGC map which was created to celebrate the community participation in the initiative.
Watch this celebration film narrated by QGC Ambassador Dame Judi Dench which showcases the dynamic way in which the QGC united the nation behind a common goal – to plant trees.
First Tree Planting Season
October 2021 to March 2022
In October 2021, The late Queen Elizabeth II and The then Prince of Wales marked the start of the season by planting a copper beech tree at the Balmoral Estate’s historic cricket pavilion, joined by schoolchildren from nearby Crathie Primary School.
The QGC’s education programme was unveiled with the aim to inspire young people as the future custodians of the UK’s green spaces through a special Jubilee edition of the RFS Junior Forester Award.
From this moment, tree planting began in earnest. National leaders and sporting legends joined green-fingered families and communities to get involved in local activities, with thousands of people from all walks of life coming together to participate.
By the start of 2022, a canopy of green was forming across the UK and the QGC map was coming to life with projects proudly showcased across each nation, from the Scottish Highlands to the Giant’s Causeway, to Merthyr Tydfil in the Welsh Valleys, in Birmingham at the very heart of England, and through vibrant urban greening projects in London.
By the time the end of the season arrived in March 2022, it was clear something very special had unfolded. Tree planting had swept the nation at a grassroots level, and the QGC announced that over a million trees had been planted in the six months since October 2021.
In recognition of this, The late Queen sent a message to thank people and communities all over the UK who came together to plant trees in her name:
As the planting season draws to a close, I send my sincere thanks to everyone across the country who has planted a tree to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee. I am deeply touched that so many community groups, schools, families and individuals have made their own unique contributions to the Green Canopy initiative.
I hope your Jubilee trees flourish and grow for many years to come, for future generations to enjoy.
- Elizabeth R
A tree was planted by The then Countess of Wessex to bring the planting season to an end.
70 Ancient Woodlands and 70 Ancient Trees
With tree planting paused for the summer, The Queen’s Green Canopy embarked upon its conservation programme with a project to raise awareness of the UK’s precious and irreplaceable Ancient woodlands and trees.
In May 2022, The then Prince of Wales launched a nationwide network of 70 Ancient Woodlands and 70 Ancient Trees dedicated to Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee. To mark the launch, His Royal Highness recorded a video message under one of the Ancient tree dedications, the old Sycamore at Dumfries House in Scotland where he said:
Trees and woodlands have a profound significance for us all – their steadfast and reassuring presence a reminder of our long serving Sovereign and her enduring dedication. Let us ensure that in her name we can now protect and strengthen this wonderful living Canopy for the next seventy years and, hopefully, way beyond.
- HRH The former Prince of Wales
Established over hundreds of years, Ancient habitats are rich in ecology as well as natural and social history, and have formed the backdrop to significant moments in the story of the four nations. All the chosen Ancient woodlands and trees had a unique story to tell, either as famous specimens or local natural wonders, in both rural and urban settings.
By sharing the stories behind the Ancient woodlands and trees, as well as the incredible efforts made to protect them, the QGC sought to raise awareness of these treasured habitats and the importance of conserving them for future generations.
The Platinum Jubilee and the QGC “Tree of Trees”
The Queen’s Green Canopy was proud to unveil the “Tree of Trees” as an exciting centrepiece of the Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations. The 21-metre living sculpture, made up of 350 British grown trees, put the importance of trees and nature at the heart of the historic milestone to celebrate The late Queen.
Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the Tree stood tall outside Buckingham Palace as a message of hope, regeneration and optimism to the nation and the world.
In a special dual ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II began the lighting of the Tree as the Principle Beacon from the Quadrangle at Windsor Castle with a symbolic touch on the Commonwealth Globe of Nations. The then Duke of Cambridge represented Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace in London as the Tree was illuminated, launching the Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations.
By illuminating the Tree, a symbolic light shone over the million trees that had already been planted across the nation in The late Queen’s name.
The Tree was omnipresent throughout the weekend, serving as a backdrop to the spectacular celebrations including the extraordinary Trooping the Colour ceremony, the magnificent BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace, and the phenomenal Platinum Pageant.
At the conclusion of the weekend, the trees were carefully stored at Barchams Nursery ahead of distribution at the start of the planting season. The trees in their special pots embossed with Queen Elizabeth II’s cypher were to be gifted to community groups across the nation to celebrate their work and inspire the next generation of tree planters.
Second Tree Planting Season
October 2022 to March 2023
In honour and loving memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen’s Green Canopy started the planting season with a poignant tree gifting ceremony at The Royal Hospital Chelsea in London - home of the Chelsea Pensioners.
An inspiring group of front-line services, charities and communities gathered at the Royal Hospital to represent over 300 organisations from across the nation who were gifted trees from the QGC “Tree of Trees”.
To coincide with National Tree Week in November 2022, QGC Partner DEFRA announced a special programme of tree planting in honour of Queen Elizabeth. Funding was provided to QGC delivery partners to plant trees in over 60 locations that have limited access to nature and green space.
The final months of the initiative saw the continuation of communities planting hundreds of thousands of trees and saplings across the nation, including by QGC Ambassador Sir David Attenborough who said:
“The Queen’s Green Canopy has created an invaluable national legacy for our children, future generations and the planet itself.”
The Queen's Green Canopy Legacy
His Majesty The King and The Prince of Wales planted an acer tree in the gardens of Sandringham House to mark the end of The Queen’s Green Canopy.
In a message to the nation, His Majesty thanked people from across the United Kingdom who came together to create an inspiring living legacy of over three million trees planted in Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s name, to benefit future generations.
The QGC was proud to announce three key legacy initiatives including:
- Coronation Trees - To mark the coronation of His Majesty The King, the QGC funded the planting of a beautiful specimen tree in each of the 98 Lieutenancies across the UK. The trees will be planted during the forthcoming season, from October 2023.
- DofE Gold Awards – To help young people get involved in tree planting, a pilot project was created through a new partnership between The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV).
- QGC Delivery Partners – In recognition of the support which was central to delivering tree planting projects across the nation, funding from “The Queen’s Green Canopy” book was gifted to our Partners including The Conservation Volunteers, Trees for Cities and The Tree Council.
A unique mosaic artwork in the form of a green canopy depicting Queen Elizabeth II’s cypher, EIIR, was released to celebrate the widespread community participation in the initiative. The mosaic was created from thousands of images of people with their jubilee and memorial trees planted for Queen Elizabeth which were uploaded to the interactive QGC Map.