Chelsea Flower Show cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

By Zach Harper, with files from Danielle Stacey

The Royal Family loves the Chelsea Flower Show, the Royal Horticultural Society's annual gardening and outdoor event. It was due to take place May 19-23 this year, but sadly, it isn't happening, since it has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The RHS has issued a statement saying all of its garden events and shows are cancelled until June 30. The cuts come due to the concern about the number of people who would have attended. Many governments around the world have either said mass gatherings of more than 50 people should not happen or have banned them outright in an effort to stop COVID-19's spread.

In addition to the Chelsea Flower Show, other cancelled RHS events include:

  • The RHS London Spring Launch and Orchid Show (April 7-8)
  • The RHS Botanical Art and Photography Show (April 17-18)
  • The RHS Flower Show in Cardiff (April 17-19)
  • The RHS Malvern Spring Festival (May 7-10)
  • RHS Chatsworth Flower Show (June 11-14)
  • RHS Garden Harlow Flower Show (June 26-28 - this may be moved to July)

  • Duchess Kate shows the Queen and Prince William around her Back to Nature garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2019. Photo: © GEOFF PUGH/AFP via Getty Images

    "In these unprecedented, challenging times, we have carefully followed Government advice and made difficult, responsible decisions with the health and safety of people at the foremost of our minds," Sue Biggs, the Royal Horticultural Society's Director General, said in a statement

    "Our RHS Shows are vitally important platforms for the horticultural industry, and we are especially aware of the impact of cancelling these events on everyone involved. We will be doing all we can to help growers and nurseries to sell the plants they will have grown for the cancelled shows.

    "As with everyone, we have no crystal ball, but for the time being we are planning our Summer Flower Shows and our Gardens remain open, as they are large outside spaces where people can escape in open space and benefit from some tranquility and beauty, surrounded by nature – all things that are much needed during these unsettling times.

    "Things of course may change, but whatever decisions we make, safety will be utmost in our mind and we will, like the rest of the world, be monitoring the situation closely."

    Kate was also keen to show off her garden to children who attended the show last year. Photo: © YUI MOK/AFP via Getty Images

    The Chelsea Flower Show has taken place every year since 1913, with the exception of the two World Wars. It has been a favourite of the royals for years. The Queen attends annually, and last year, Duchess Kate helped design the Back to Nature garden, which was a huge success. The plot was intended to help British children engage with nature and encourage them to get all the benefits they could from it, since the Duchess of Cambridge has been outspoken about how the great outdoors can help people's mental health.

    Kate and Prince William brought Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to see the garden, and footage of the children playing among its plants and in its stream captured the hearts of royal watchers worldwide.

    On March 17, Buckingham Palace also announced the Queen is cancelling her Garden Parties this year in light of the coronavirus concerns, and she will be moved to Windsor Castle a week early for Easter this year. She also will not attend Maundy Thursday service at St. George's Chapel on April 9.

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