Queen’s security missed potential ‘threat’ during Chelsea Flower Show

Queen to use Scottish 'ethos' for Parliament speech says expert

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This week marked the opening of the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, where the Queen spoke for the first time without Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh sadly passed away this year aged 99, with the monarch noting that the country held “many happy memories” for her of Philip. It is the first time she has spoken about her late husband since his passing in April.

She told the chamber: “I have spoken before of my deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country and of the many happy memories Prince Philip and I always held of our time here.

“It is often said that it is the people that make a place and there are few places where this is truer than it is in Scotland, as we have seen in recent times.”

The monarch has been largely absent from the public eye in recent weeks, spending her summer vacation at her Balmoral royal residence.

While the event has taken up the same calendar dates for years, she was forced to miss several other engagements that were rescheduled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

One such event was the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which the Queen has missed only ten times during her reign.

While most of the shows pass without note, one particular year raised eyebrows after she was welcomed by garden designer Matt Keightley.

He recalled his first-ever meeting with her in a piece for Gardens Illustrated last month.

Standing near his garden at the top of Main Avenue waiting for the royal procession to make its way through the crowd one year, Mr Keightley mulled over in his head what he would say to the Queen.

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She was accompanied by Prince Harry, who he had met several times, and before he knew it she and the Duke of Sussex was before him with an outstretched hand.

He wrote: “There was a handshake and a pause followed by all I could muster which was ‘Afternoon’!”

The pair walked down the garden path together.

It was here that the Queen paused and looked at Mr Keightley confused.

She asked him: “What is that sinister-looking implement”, he held in his hand.

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The “sinister” piece of equipment, Mr Keightley explained, was a metal rod.

He said: “I was holding what I can only describe as a metal rod that resembled a cattle prod and looking back, something her security detail could have easily seen as a threat.

“It was in fact the steel template we had made to create children’s footprints in the stone path and Her Majesty was simply showing a genuine interest.”

He added: “Not quite as I had planned, but a fleeting moment I will always remember.”

The Queen gets round-the-clock protection, along with Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

While Mr Keightley suggested that her security detail could have seen the metal rod he was holding as a “threat”, it is likely that they had already assessed the environment beforehand.

Most senior royals receive 24/7 security that is funded by the taxpayer.

While the sum has been reported as being in the millions, the Treasury does not disclose the exact amount the Firm spends on security.

The HM Treasury website states: “No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected.”

“It is a long-established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences.”

Royals who do not have a leading role will not be granted 24/7 security.

This means they must fund any security they wish to have around them.

Members like Princess’s Beatrice and Eugenie no longer have police protection, a point that made their father, Prince Andrew, reportedly furious.

Meanwhile, despite the Queen being forced to miss this year’s rescheduled Chelsea Flower Show, other Royal Family members were out in force.

Princess Anne, her husband Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra all turned out and had a sneak peek at what was on offer.

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