A glimpse inside the gardens truly fit for a Queen

Alan Titchmarsh
Alan Titchmarsh
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IT IS the horticultural idyll which has provided a playground fit for a succession of kings and queens, yet has remained something of a hidden gem to most loyal subjects. Until now.

Television viewers are set to get a look inside Buckingham Palace’s walls in a new series focusing on its glorious gardens.

Cameras were granted special permission to explore the vast 39-acre site, which provides an urban oasis for the British monarchy in the heart of London, for the two-part ITV show fronted by Yorkshire-born presenter Alan Titchmarsh.

Everything from its former life as a hunting ground for King Henry VIII to the role it has played in the life of the reigning Queen will be delved into for the programme, dubbed The Queen’s Garden.

“There is something magical about a garden hidden behind high walls, and no more so than at Buckingham Palace,” said Richard Klien, director of factual commissioning at ITV.

“The Queen’s Garden is a delightful and charming exploration of that magical world, with a light dusting of royal history.”

Scenes have been filmed throughout the course of this year, tracking the changes which take place in the green space through spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The expertise, craft and graft required to meet the challenge of ensuring the palace gardens maintain the royal seal of approval, along with some of the best-kept trade secrets, will be shared with the public through interviews with its green-fingered army of workers. Champions of sustainability may be pleased to discover that fertiliser is sourced from the royal stables.

Rare archive footage and research from expert Lucy Worsley will help piece together how different monarchs have shaped its history.

The arrival of the lawn came under orders from Queen Victoria, an early pioneer of the garden party.

While it is not completely closed to the public, a glimpse of the gardens is not an everyday occurrence for most Britons. Access to the grounds of the Palace is usually only granted by prior invitation to tours or engagements.

A spokeswoman for the royal palace told The Yorkshire Post: “We have various public engagements here and the tour of the palace finishes with the gardens, so there is a level of visibility, but you cannot simply walk in off the street.

“Every year around 8,000 people attend the Queen’s garden party, which take place in the months when people can see the garden at its best.”

Just how much leisure time our monarch spends wandering among the towering trees, or pruning plants, looks set to remain a mystery as the palace was reluctant to give away too much on recreational pursuits at the royal residence.

“All we can say is that it is a working palace, so the Queen would be expected to walk in the gardens.”