20,000 at Sandringham Flower Show

Tens of thousands of people joined Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Sandringham Flower Show yesterday.

Tens of thousands of people joined Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at Sandringham Flower Show yesterday.

By lunch time, the showground had become a sea of umbrellas, as the rains which had threatened all morning finally arrived only seconds after the Royal couple hopped in their carriage to leave after a lengthy walkabout.

The showers came and went all afternoon but an estimated 20,000 people had packed into the royal estate and most were determined to make a day of it, including first time visitor to the show, musician and TV presenter Jools Holland, a guest of Prince Charles.

“I'm very impressed with the cakes,” he said, after examining the show cakes in the Royal Marquees.

“And there are some lovely show gardens.”

Wielding an umbrella he luckily did not have to open, Prince Charles and Camilla spent more than two hours touring the Royal Marquees, other stands and talking to members of the public.

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Joining them were garden lover Mr Holland, with his wife Christabel, and other guests including the dowager Duchess of Devonshire, Lady Solti and Lord and Lady Rothschild.

Arriving in a horse drawn carriage to music by the Parachute Regiment, foreman gardener Colin Wood's son Adam, 7, presented the Duchess, who was wearing a camel coloured jacket and shoes with beige bag and white fine cotton skirt, with a bouquet of flowers.

Starting at the Royal Marquees, they spoke to staff of Peter Beales Roses, including granddaughter Laura Gibb, 15, who presented Camilla with a new rose, the Wymondham Abbey, to celebrate the building's 900th anniversary.

They also visited the silver award winning EDP stand by landscapers Daisy Hone and Alan Raven who said they were very nervous before meeting Prince Charles and Camilla.

“But they were lovely. He loved our show garden and shed, which was in memory of Alan's dad Sid. He said it was fantastic. We really enjoyed meeting them and they spent a lot of time with us.”

It was touch and go for the couple, who run country Garden Landscapes near Holkham, as they were rescued by Fakenham Garden centre the day before their show after a number of plants died.

Olive Fisher, 59, a retired nurse from Fakenham, who says she is friends with the Duchess was kissed on the cheek by Camilla on the walkabout.

“She is a wonderful wonderful woman. People should give her a chance.”

On their visit to the Sandringham WI stand, which was raffling prizes donated by the Queen and Prince Charles, Camilla bought two knitted dolls and Prince Charles got some farmhouse fruit slices.

Peggy Emmerson, from Sandringham WI, said: “They talked about a trip we had to Highgrove. They were very pleased we enjoyed it. They seemed very happy and in a good mood.”

Show treasurer Paul Murrell said: “It's all gone fantastically. We've been lucky with the weather, the crowds have turned out and it's been a cracking day everyone's enjoyed.

“It shows that we are now providing a show that has something for everybody, people love to come to the show because it's such a unique event.”

Cracking day couldn't begin to sum it up for East Tuddenham-based landscape gardener Sue Huckle, whose entry Lily's Garden - created to commemorate her mother and newly-arrived grand daughter won Best of Show and the coveted Eastern Daily Press trophy.

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