Queen jokes about poisonous plants at Chelsea Flower Show

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London
Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London

The Queen has revealed the darker side to her sense of humour by joking about being killed off – by a highly poisonous plant.

The monarch’s quip came as she was joined by her family at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – an annual royal tradition that this year has seen security increased in the wake of terror attacks in Brussels and Paris.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were making their first visit to the world famous horticultural show and they were joined by Prince Harry whose charity Sentebale entered a show garden last year.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who visits the famous show regularly, walked around without the Queen and with a minimal entourage stopping to look at gardens and stands that took his interest.

Other guests included the Duke of York and his daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

As the Queen toured the show herb gardener Jekka McVicar told her how the flowering plant, lily of the valley, used to be used as a poison. Ms McVicar, designer of the St John’s Hospice garden at the show, said she told the Queen: “It has the same properties as digitalis.”

She added: “She said, ‘I’ve been given two bunches this week. Perhaps they want me dead’.”