Probably not since Charlemagne the Great instituted his famous Capitularies in the 8th and 9th centuries (amongst which were several referring to matters botanical) – and despite the harm potentially caused by HRH Prince Charles’ 20th century ‘talking to the plants’ escapades – has there been a more timely and significant Royal endorsement of the importance of plants and horticulture (‘the science, technology, and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use’ – and therefore one of humankind’s most important plant-based activities).
What’s happened? A Royal Charter has been granted to the Institute of Horticulture (IoH) by Her Majesty the Queen (Queen Elizabeth II, ruling monarch of the UK, and mummy to Charles…). Although this won’t come into legal effect until it is sealed by the Crown Office at the House of Lords in 2014, a Royal Charter will enhance the IoH’s ability to represent the profession through increasing the profile, recognition and standing of professional horticulture. Furthermore, as a Chartered body the Institute’s ability to raise standards will be strengthened and the IoH – presumably now the RIoH? – will be better placed to represent and support horticulture as a profession and assist members in the practice of that profession. Yet one more reason for those who work in horticulture to be happy and smile (coz it ain’t necessarily for the money!).