The individuals honoured with the prestigious recognition include Piet Oudolf, the Right Honourable Baroness Janet Fookes DBE and Judy Ling Wong CBE
By: Kimberly Rodrigues
In a momentous occasion at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, his Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla awarded the first recipients of The Elizabeth Medal of Honour on Monday (22).
According to a press release, the distinguished individuals honoured with this prestigious recognition include world-renowned garden designer Piet Oudolf, the Right Honourable Baroness Janet Fookes DBE, and environmental champion Judy Ling Wong CBE.
This achievement celebrates individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to advancing the science, art, and practice of horticulture, benefitting both the environment and future generations, the release said.
The Elizabeth Medal of Honour, established with the approval of King Charles III, pays tribute to the illustrious reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The distinguished medals are bestowed upon British and international non-horticulturists, as well as horticulturists, who have made significant contributions to the field.
However, to align with the remarkable 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the medal is limited to a maximum of 70 recipients at any given time.
The ceremony took place in the Garden of Royal Reflection and Celebration, a setting that incorporated the favoured plantings of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Soft hues of light pinks and whites blended with lush greenery, while shades of purples and blues reflected the preferences of His Majesty the King.
RHS President Keith Weed expressed deep gratitude that their majesties presented the first Elizabeth Medal of Honour to the deserving recipients.
He said, “The Royal Horticultural Society was exceptionally fortunate to have Her Majesty as our Patron throughout her reign. This award celebrates both Her Majesty’s glorious reign and the work she did to raise the profile of UK horticulture both nationally and internationally through her visits to RHS Chelsea Flower Show and wider work.
“It is a great honour that Their Majesties the King and Queen have presented the first Elizabeth Medal of Honour to the three recipients today. Piet Oudolf, the Right Honourable the Baroness Janet Fookes DBE, and Judy Ling Wong CBE are all extremely worthy of the award and we thank them for all they have done and continue to do to promote the power of gardening and plants.”
The press release stated that the Baroness Fookes DBE has been a prominent advocate for horticulture’s vital role in fostering healthy lives, sustainable landscapes, and environmental protection.
It also added that Piet Oudolf, who is a globally acclaimed garden designer, has revolutionised traditional gardening by emphasising the natural life cycle of plants and their aesthetic qualities beyond mere blooms.
Additionally, Judy Ling Wong CBE, an environmental activist, has championed greening urban spaces and promoting biodiversity, ensuring that all individuals have access to nature, the release said.
The introduction of The Elizabeth Medal of Honour adds another prestigious accolade to the RHS’s long-standing Victoria Medal of Honour, established in 1897, the report said. The Victoria Medal is bestowed upon outstanding British horticulturists, with only 63 medals held at any given time to commemorate Queen Victoria’s reign.
Current holders of the VMH include His Majesty King Charles III who was presented the award by his mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2009.