Queen remark left Alan Titchmarsh stunned at Chelsea Flower Show: ‘Small onions’

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Today marks the end of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the first for two years after last year’s edition was postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The competition, which sees the best gardeners from across the globe show off their incredibly green fingers, has a long tradition with the Royal Family. In a preview show for the competition, the likes of Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were treated to a behind the scenes look at what was being displayed.

It takes place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, with the 2021 showcase occurring in the autumn for the first ever time.

The event also marked just the 10th time the Queen has missed the Chelsea Flower Show during her reign, as she is currently still on her Scottish estate in Balmoral.

With so many appearances at the show, the Queen has delighted spectators, competitors and organisers across the years.

And even though Alan has met the Queen on a number of occasions, particularly thanks to his association with the Chelsea Flower Show, he was once left stunned after a comment Her Majesty made to the fabled gardener.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain in 2019, Alan retold the cheeky encounter with the monarch, leaving hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid in fits of laughter.

He said: “The first thing her majesty ever said to me, about 30 years ago, was on a garden at Chelsea Flower Show and she said, ‘Your onions are very small’.

“I had another conversation with her, a couple of years ago, when I did another garden.

“She said, ‘Your boulders are very large’, and I thought, ‘What a long way I’ve come.’”

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In another meeting, Her Majesty was quick to compliment the 72-year-old when he was picking up his MBE.

He added: “She also, very sweetly, when I got my MBE about 20 yeas ago, she very kindly said to me that I’d given a lot of ladies a lot of pleasure.

“But I think she was talking about Sandringham WI.”

Mr Titchmarsh rose to prominence in the Nineties after gracing screens on shows such as Gardener’s World.

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However, he secured his place within the public eye with his show Ground Force.

Such was the show’s significance, Mr Titchmarsh would go on to help renovate former South African President Nelson Mandela’s garden.

And although he still is a regular on TV screens across the nation, Mr Titchmarsh confessed he was considering slowing down.

He told the People last year: “I keep thinking I have to ease off a bit.

“My wife says I should cherry-pick more, I say I get offered a lot of cherries.

“I like being stimulated so it’s vital to me.”

RHS Chelsea Flower Show: Best of 2021 airs tonight on BBC One from 6pm.

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