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The Princess of Wales made a surprise visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this week where she joined students for the first-ever children’s picnic. Kate dazzled in a pink maxi-dress as she met youngsters from ten schools taking part in the Campaign for School Gardening. But being an unannounced appearance, the Princess caused quite a stir among photographers and visitors as they tried to catch a glimpse of the popular royal.

Times photographer Richard Pohle recalled the moment he was told the Princess was attending.

Writing in The Times he said: “I was surprised when a photographer approached and said: ‘Have you heard this rumour going around about Kate coming here today?’ In our world, no one needs to explain who Kate is.

“’No way,” I replied. ‘Not on press day, it’ll never happen. It’ll be chaos.”

The photographer said plans were “falling by the wayside” as rumours were “flying around” before it was confirmed and the “group descended into panic”.

Recalling the moment Kate arrived he said: “I stood on a table for a bit of elevation. In front of us was a large group of schoolchildren having a picnic.

“It was quite a distance away and like others I was under-lensed, having only brought a small wide-angle lens and my 70-200mm. Normally I would have longer lenses for a royal event.”

Royal protocol was even “broken” due to the surprise nature of the Princess’s visit as photographers “sprinted” after her.

“Years of covering royal visits had instilled in us that you don’t just run after them. There was a pause as we all looked at each other, none of us moving,” Mr Pohle added.

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Mr Pohle said photographs arrived “like a freight train crash” as the Princess made her way around the gardens.

“If we couldn’t find a gap in the crowd, we made one,” he added.

As Kate left he said photographs were left “red in the face and sweating” after trying to get the best shots.

During her visit the Princess joined pupils for a picnic from Cameron Vale School, Alec Reed Academy, St George’s CofE Primary School, St Augustine’s CofE Primary, Falconbrook Primary School, Christ Church CofE Primary School, Glenbrook Primary School, St Mary’s CofE Primary School, St George’s Church of England Primary School and Laycock Primary School.

The picnic aims to bring gardening and nature into the lives of more children, a topic Kate has been passionate about for several years.

The Princess and the children also enjoyed the outdoor kitchen at The Savills Garden, a blend of ornamental and edible planting designed by RHS gold medal winner Mark Gregory.

The Children’s picnic is set to become an annual event at the flower show after being inspired by a conversation Kate had during her first visit in 2019.