Queen uses buggy to visit Chelsea Flower Show as she attends despite mobility issues

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said adjustments had been made for "the Queen’s comfort"

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The Queen has arrived at the Chelsea Flower Show in a buggy, opting to use the mode of transport at the event for the first time for her comfort.

The 96-year-old monarch, who has mobility problems, adapted her traditional visit to see the floral and gardening extravaganza on Monday afternoon – the day before it opens to the public.

She is touring around 10 gardens but this time will be transported around the vast site on the vehicle.

The Queen during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show
The Queen during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show
Her Majesty looked in good spirits at the event
Her Majesty looked in good spirits at the event

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “Adjustments have been made for the Queen’s comfort.”

It is the first time in nearly a decade that the monarch is believed to have used a buggy at an official engagement.

The Queen was seen in a golf buggy nine years ago in 2013 during the Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

She also used one during a tour to Australia in 2011, when she visited Government House in Canberra.

Joe Little, of Majesty magazine, said of the development: “It’s an extremely practical arrangement that will allow the Queen to take part in as many engagements as she is able to do.”

The Queen, who confessed during an audience in February to not being able to move, is just 10 days away from the start of her high profile Jubilee celebrations.

She made a surprise appearance at the opening of the Elizabeth line last week and went to the Royal Windsor Horse Show and the Gallop Through History equestrian event this month, but missed the State Opening of Parliament.

The Palace said last week that the Queen was hoping to be able to visit Chelsea, and she arrived at around 5.35pm.

Other members of the Royal Family – the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Princess Beatrice, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra – are also touring the show at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.

The Queen was seen in a golf buggy during the Coronation Festival in 2013
The Queen was seen in a golf buggy during the Coronation Festival in 2013
The Earl and Countess of Wessex on a tour of the show
The Earl and Countess of Wessex on a tour of the show

The monarch’s Jubilee is one of the themes of this year’s show.

Among the displays is The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Garden by renowned florist Simon Lycett which features laser-cut steel silhouettes of the monarch, surrounded by 70 planted terracotta pots, representing each year of her reign.

It is covered on both sides with an assortment of native British-grown tree branches with connecting inner shelves arranged in the pots, hand-made in Warwickshire, and planted with lily of the valley, one of the Queen’s favourite plants which featured in her coronation bouquet.

Another installation transports visitors to one of the Queen’s favourite places, with a canopy of flowers including fresh delphiniums, emulating the colours and planting of the Scottish landscape near the royal family’s Balmoral Castle estate in Aberdeenshire.

In the show’s Great Pavilion, the monument is surrounded by a photography exhibition of the Queen visiting the show throughout her reign.

The show has returned to its traditional May slot for the first time since the pandemic struck, with other themes including wildlife and wellbeing.

The Queen has been the Royal Horticultural Society’s royal patron since 1952 and was a regular visitor to the garden show with her parents as a child.

She has attended more than 50 times during her 70-year reign.