'Unforgettable' Princess of Wales joins veterans' lunch at Chelsea Flower Show

The princess met with children and ex-servicemen during her visit to the Chelsea Flower Show, ITV News' Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

The Princess of Wales was quizzed by schoolchildren on life in the Royal Family as she visited the Chelsea Flower Show today.

Kate also dropped in on ex-servicemen and women from the Chelsea Pensioners as they sat down for lunch and was told she was "unforgettable".

Dressed in their famous red tunics, the retired soldiers were sat in a walled kitchen garden, designed by Mark Gregory especially for them - alongside a kitchen that will produce meals for the group from produce grown nearby.

“What’s on the menu?” Kate asked as the pensioners tucked into chargrilled peas with herbs.

Harry Puttick, who served with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers for 30 years, replied gallantly, “The peas are forgettable, you are not”.

The Princess of Wales with pupils from schools taking part in the first Children's Picnic at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Credit: PA

With the cook nearby, he joked afterwards: “I’d better say the peas were wonderful, but it was fantastic to meet the future Queen.”

During her visit to Gregory’s Savills garden, Kate chatted to pupils from St George’s Church of England Primary School, in Camberwell, southeast London.

Asked what life is like as a royal, she told them, "You have to work hard, but you know the best thing about it is meeting kiddies like you.”

Pressed on what the royal family does, she said: “They help support all the different people in the country, showcase all the amazing work being done and look after everyone.”

One curious child asked if she made the law, but she told her: “The Prime Minister makes the laws.”

The Princess of Wales speaks to the Chelsea Pensioners. Credit: PA

Kate also revealed that “Louis is growing broad beans at school” and showed off her talent for drawing by sketching flowers and plants for the children in lieu of a signature.

Asked what her favourite colour was, she encouraged the children to guess – grinning as they correctly answered “green”.

In 2019, Kate co-designed a Chelsea Flower Show garden to encourage the public to get back in touch with nature and conversations she had at the time with the RHS, the show’s organiser, inspired the institution to involve children in this year’s event.

Youngsters from 10 schools, taking part in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, were invited to a picnic and were joined by the princess when she first arrived before the pupils later toured some of the show gardens with Kate.

Kate discussed vegetables and herbs with the children as she sat on a picnic mat, and told them: “There’s a plant that smells like chocolate.

"I remember my granny showing me that when I was little. It has very dark leaves and you rub it and it smells like chocolate.”

The Princess of Wales was quizzed on what life was like as a royal. Credit: Jordan Pettitt/PA

When told the pupils were growing sunflowers at school, she said: “They get so big, don’t they?”

She also revealed: “Louis is growing broad beans at school. You put them in a cup and you can see the roots growing. They get big quickly like sunflowers.”

Picking up a favourite theme, Kate spoke of the virtues of spending time outdoors, telling the children: “It’s so good for our bodies and our minds.”

Kate ended her visit in the Royal Entomological Garden where children learned about insects and she showed them a display of beetles and thanked the pupils when some pulled pollen from her hair.

Again the future Queen answered questions, including one from Solyana Dane, aged eight, from Glenbrook Primary in Clapham Park, south London.

The schoolgirl said: “I asked her if she loved gardens and she said they were her ‘calm place’.”

Listen to our royal podcast, the Royal Rota