The Crown is ‘playing with people’s lives’ says Alan Titchmarsh

Titchmarsh is one of the UK’s best-known TV gardeners. Alongside his BBC ‘Gardeners’ World’ co-star, Monty Don, he has popularised gardening, offering useful tips and tricks for decades. As Gardeners’ World is off air for the winter period, the 71-year-old is set to grace our screens in ITV’s, ‘Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh’.

Over the years Titchmarsh has amassed a vast fan base.

His services have helped so many people that in 2000 he was appointed MBE by the Queen.

Fast-forward four years and he received the Victoria Medal of Honour – the highest accolade in the British gardening world.

In all these meetings with the Queen, one stands out among them all.

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It was during the event where he received his MBE, as he later revealed during his talk to a packed audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2014, that he was “slightly disappointed” with the encounter.

He said: “When I got up to the Queen she asked me ‘Are you busy?’ I was slightly disappointed by the generality of the question but I told her about Gardeners’ World and Ground Force, which I was working on then.

“She chatted and then the hand came out for the handshake.

“We had been told when that happens you stop talking and go away.”

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However, he said what happened next shocked him.

Titchmarsh explained: “As I shook her hand she said ‘Well you give a lot of ladies a lot of pleasure.”

This gave him a great idea for the future: “I said to my wife ‘You know I’d rather be buried than cremated.’ She said ‘What brought that on?’

“I told her that I wanted a headstone which said ‘Alan Titchmarsh MBE 1949-whenever. He gave a lot of ladies a lot of pleasure – Elizabeth R.'”

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The royals appear to be a theme close to Titchmarsh’s heart.

He has since published a book about the five main Royal residences – Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham, Holyrood House and Balmoral.

After winning a gold medal at Chelsea Flower Show in 1985 for his country kitchen garden design, Titchmarsh went on to become one of the most successful gardeners, writers and broadcasters in his field.

He took over Gardeners’ World in 1996 and began presenting BBC show Ground Force in 1997.

His “disappointing” story of the Queen didn’t stop there.

He recalled at the festival: “My first encounter with Her Majesty was back in 1985.

“I did a garden for Woman’s Own magazine at the Chelsea Flower Show called the country kitchen garden – it got a gold medal.

“When the Queen came she was brought to my garden and I had to show her around.

“It was my first encounter with my monarch.”

He said he had since seen a photograph of himself from that day: “I was wearing white flannels, a maroon and black striped blazer, white shirt and yellow bow tie. What was I thinking?

“It reminded me of the time Mrs Thatcher’s private secretary rang Buckingham Palace to enquire what the Queen would be wearing to a function because she did not want to clash with her.

“She was told ‘Oh, the Queen never notices what anyone else is wearing.’ I was very grateful for that.”

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs on Sunday at 10am on ITV.

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