Camilla jokes about ‘nudging’ Charles from patronage of ‘special’ garden museum

The Queen has joked she wants to “nudge” the King from his position as patron of a museum she cannot resist visiting.

Camilla described London’s Garden Museum as “such a special place” as she made her third visit in just over 12 months to tour a new exhibition about the gardens associated with women from the famous Bloomsbury group of artists.

Royal florist Shane Connolly who created the floral displays for the King’s coronation and Charles and Camilla’s 2005 wedding was also at the event alongside the museum’s president, TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

Camilla meeting guests at the Gardening Bohemia exhibition in Lambeth, south London
Camilla speaks to Romilly Bannerman, two, and her mother Violet Bannerman during a visit to the Gardening Bohemia exhibition at the Garden Museum, in Lambeth, south London (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

In an impromptu speech the Queen told the invited guests: “I don’t know how many visits I’ve paid here – quite a lot. I know my husband’s patron but I might have to nudge him, I’d quite like to take that one away from him.

“It’s such a special place that every time I’m asked, I just like to come back again and I think this wonderful exhibition celebrating women in garden(ing) is so important.”

She added: “I’m so glad that you are celebrating all the women who are these great gardeners because we do love gardening, it’s quite often the men who get celebrated and not the women, so I think you’re doing a brilliant job here.”

The exhibition, titled Gardening Bohemia: Bloomsbury Women Outdoors, uses paintings, photographs and other objects to explore the gardens connected to writer Virginia Woolf her sister the painter Vanessa Bell, garden designer and poet Vita Sackville-West and photographer Lady Ottoline Morrell.

Camilla during the Gardening Bohemia exhibition royal visit
Camilla during the visit to the Gardening Bohemia exhibition at the Garden Museum in south London (Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA)

The four women featured used their gardens as places of sanctuary where they could express their creativity and redefine ideas about domesticity and relationships.

Mr Connolly, who picked flowers from his garden for a posy presented to the Queen, said about Charles and Camilla: “It’s lovely because they’re both gardeners so we’ve got the most amazing support – a patron who’s a gardener and his wife who comes to see us, so it’s absolutely fantastic.

“They get what this is about, and gardening is for everyone, it’s not just for people who’ve got big estates, they realise that and this is a facility for people to come and see the therapy that a garden provides.”

Camilla has a connection to the Bloomsbury group as she is patron of the Charleston Trust which safeguards Charleston, the East Sussex home of Vanessa Bell.

Among the guests was Vanessa Nicholson, granddaughter of Vita Sackville-West, who told the royal guest how she used to attend parties hosted by Camilla’s great aunt in Italy and they joked how they were “odd” parties.

During the visit the Queen was shown a 17th century tapestry depicting a woman gardener and chatted to students and their carers taking part in a “Clay for Dementia” session.

After the visit, Titchmarsh spoke about the Queen’s private home in Gloucestershire: “She’s a great gardener and I know that Ray Mill is a wonderful retreat for her with her own garden.”

He added: “We would be very happy to have the Queen and the King as patron, either or both. We just love that she loves to come.”