Prince Charles has opened up about his childhood mentor at Buckingham Palace, and how their advice has continued to affect him to this day.
- Prince Charles has shared an adorable memory of his 'splendid' childhood mentor at Buckingham Palace in a new interview.
- The Prince of Wales received plenty of lifelong advice from the royal staff member, who also just so happened to be close-knit with the Queen.
- In other royal news, Prince William praises former royal marine after arson attack.
The Prince of Wales has opened up about how one of the Queen's chief employees helped him find his passion for one of his lifelong pastimes—gardening.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, the heir to the British throne revealed that he and Princess Anne loved to experiment with horticulture in their youth—even when their green-fingered endeavors didn't go entirely to plan.
"My sister and I had a little vegetable patch in the back of some border somewhere,” he told host Simon Armitage on The Poet Laureate has gone to his shed. “We had great fun trying to grow tomatoes rather unsuccessfully, and things like that.”
Fortunately for the novice fruit farmers, they had some expert help on hand to lend some advice. The Queen's children were supervised by a 'splendid' royal staff member—with a fitting name—who offered them guidance and inspiration when things got a little prickly.
"There was a wonderful head gardener at Buckingham Palace, he was called Mr. Nutbeam, rather splendidly," Charles added. “He was splendid, and helped us a bit, my sister and I, with the little garden we had.”
This beloved mentor was Sussex native Fred Nutbeam, and, just as the Prince said, he held an important position at the Queen's headquarters during his tenure. According to renowned royal gardener Jim Buttress, the talented horticulturist was "devoted" to Her Majesty, always going above and beyond to ensure her wishes were met.
"They were thick as thieves," he wrote in his 2016 book, The People's Gardener. "Anything she wanted, Fred would get."
Mr. Nutbeam, who worked tirelessly for the Queen from the 1950s until the late '70s, also kept her four children entertained when he wasn't busy teaching them the basics of gardening. "Fred told me he used to push Charlie, Anne, Andrew, and Edward around in the wheelbarrow when they weren't at school!" Buttress added.
Mr. Nutbeam died in 1997, but his words of wisdom have stuck with Charles to this day. The future King has long been an avid supporter of sustainable food production, regularly encouraging the British public to adopt a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Prince Charles was even labeled ‘ahead of his time’ after giving an emotive speech last month, in which he lamented his country's diminishing nature and urged industries to prioritize nature over profit.
He and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, also run their own organic farm at Highgrove House, where they cultivate a wide range of products using biodynamic agricultural methods.
"There’s nothing to beat, is there, I think, eating what you have grown?” Charles said.
“This is another reason why I always feel it is so important to find ways of encouraging children to grow vegetables and things at school.”
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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