King Charles likes to give trees a 'friendly shake' - yes, really!

King Charles’ unusual tree habit is something he does whenever he plants a tree during an official engagement

King Charles’ unusual tree habit explained. Here he visits Cockington Court
(Image credit: Photo by Andrew Matthews-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

King Charles’ unusual tree habit is something that might surprise you but it’s a super friendly gesture from the eco-conscious monarch. 

The Royal Family has long been steeped in traditions and protocols though individual royals are also known for having their own distinct ones. These range from the late Queen Elizabeth’s holiday habit that meant she was “hard” to find at points to King Charles’ very unusual lunch habit. Though this apparently isn’t the monarch’s only unique custom and King Charles’ unusual tree habit might come as even more of a surprise to fans. Ahead of the King and Queen’s coronation in May the Royal Family website published a selection of intriguing facts about Their Majesties, including the revelation about trees.

King Charles has often planted trees as part of his official duties over the years, such as when he and the late Queen Elizabeth planted a tree to mark the start of the Queen’s Green Canopy project in 2021.

And according to the Royal Family website whenever he carries this out, “[a]fter planting each tree, His Majesty gives a branch a friendly shake to wish them well”. 

King Charles’ unusual tree habit seems to be a special botanical equivalent of a handshake and the gesture might not be something many green-fingered fans would think to do themselves. However, it’s also a super friendly gesture and His Majesty is known as a passionate advocate for the environment and for his respect for the natural world.

This was something he shares with Prince William and whilst King Charles and Queen Elizabeth were the first to plant a tree for the Queen’s Green Canopy project at Windsor, he and the Prince of Wales were the duo who planted the last one - an Acer tree that would’ve enjoyed King Charles’ “friendly shake” too. 

This final planting took place at Sandringham - another royal residence that held a special place in Queen Elizabeth’s heart. A heartfelt snap of King Charles and Prince William taken by photographer Chris Jackson was shared on social media alongside a statement from the monarch. In it, he expressed how it was “hard to believe” that it had already been two years since he and Queen Elizabeth planted the first tree and expressed gratitude to those who planted more in his mother’s memory.

“I particularly wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone from across the United Kingdom who has helped to plant over three million trees to create an enduring legacy in Queen Elizabeth’s name,” he declared. “This project has shown how simple, practical and positive gestures can make a big difference, and I can think of no more fitting tribute to Her late Majesty’s seventy-year reign.”

King Charles III plants a tree to commemorate the centenary of the estate becoming a public park during his visit to Kinneil House

(Image credit: Photo by Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen's Green Canopy invited people across the UK to plant trees in honour of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Though the end of the initiative hasn't meant an end to King Charles' unusual tree habit for the rest of 2023. Just last month King Charles planted a tree during the first Royal Week of his reign to commemorate the centenary of Kinneil Estate becoming a public park and looked thoroughly delighted about it too!

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!