Photo gallery: Royal memories of Sandringham Flower Show in years gone by

The Queen Mother visits the flower show, in 1990. The Queen Mother visits the flower show, in 1990.

Monday, July 28, 2014
8:46 AM

Many of the thousands heading for the Sandringham Flower Show this week will be hoping for a glimpse of the event’s Royal patrons, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

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The couple usually arrive by horse-drawn coach and tour the showground, before setting off on a walkabout through the marquees and stalls.

As the 133rd show gets under way on Wednesday, the Prince may recall visiting the show with his late grandmother.

The Queen Mother, who died in March 2002, was a regular visitor to the show, which was established in 1886 by King Edward VII, to encourage tenants and estate workers to take pride in their gardens.

She took great delight in looking at all the marquees, with their displays of produce and preserves set out on trestle tables.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cambridge at the show. Picture: Ian BurtPrince Charles and the Duchess of Cambridge at the show. Picture: Ian Burt

Grainy black and white images captured on the plate cameras of the 1950s show the Queen Mother walking around the event, greeting show-goers in much the same way the Prince and Duchess do today, maintaining one of the event’s much-loved traditions.

In her later years, the Queen Mother did not let her frailty get in the way, taking to a motorised buggy to nip around the showground. Her smile lives on in the memory of many show-goers - even today, you meet so many who remember seeing her, exchanging a wave or meeting her.

Prince Charles shares his grandmother’s love of the quintessentially Norfolk event that is the flower show. His wife, the Duchess, likes to greet familiar faces as they make their way through the crowd.

Some travel miles to the event specifically to see the Royals. A small band, usually led by the doyenne of Royal Watchers Mary Relph, head straight for the best vantage points and wait patiently for the couple to arrive, with their flasks and sandwiches.

Prince Charles and the Queen Mother at Sandringham, in July 1988.Prince Charles and the Queen Mother at Sandringham, in July 1988.

While the show committee can make sure every other aspect off the day runs like clockwork, the one thing they can’t control is the weather.

Whether the park basks in a tropical heat wave for this year’s show, or it tips it down like last year, the Prince will be there with the Duchess to oversee an event first started by his great, great grandfather to inspire a love of gardening and healthy country living.

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