Camilla pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh on the day he would have been 100
The Duchess of Cornwall has paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh on what would have been his 100th birthday.
Camilla marked the annual British Flowers Week festival with a tour of the Garden Museum on London’s South Bank and spoke about her love of flowers and “passion” for flower arranging.
As she was presented with a bouquet – which included rosemary, symbolic of remembrance – she commented about Philip and her own late father.
The duchess said: “I’m thrilled to be here today. It would have been the birthday of the Duke of Edinburgh and tomorrow would be the day of the death of my father, and I’m very honoured to be here today, doing something I know they would have appreciated.”
Camilla’s father, Major Bruce Shand, was a wine merchant who served with the 12th Lancers during the Second World War.
He was awarded the Military Cross in 1940 and again in 1942 for his efforts in France, and was later wounded and taken prisoner while fighting in North Africa. He died on June 11 2006, aged 89.
The duchess, wearing a tropical print dress by Fiona Clare, was shown around five floral installations, each designed around the theme of “healing” and showcasing the seasonal quality of British flowers and plants.
She told the florists there is nothing she enjoys doing more than picking and arranging flowers, and she loves this time of year when “everything comes out at once”.
Giving a brief speech, Camilla said: “I’d really like to thank all of you who grow, plant and decorate places with flowers. It makes such a difference to people’s lives.
“I think that a life without flowers would be unbearable.
“As a passionate gardener myself and somebody who loves arranging flowers, I try as much as I can, when I have time, to do all the flowers for our houses… It takes me ages but I do love it more than anything in the world.”
As Shane Connolly, the florist who curated the museum’s new exhibition, presented the duchess with the bouquet, he spoke of the “soothing properties” of flowers and their “reassuring rhythms” which help us to know there is going to be a spring.
He said the world is “standing on the precipice of an environmental catastrophe” but that flowers have the ability to “bring that message of nature’s fragility to the table”.
Mr Connolly noted that Philip was one of the earliest champions of the environment and did so much to further the cause.
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