THe PRINCE OF WALES has unveiled the new Royal Parks charity, of which he is patron, in Hyde Park. Stretching across the capital from Greenwich to Bushy Park, the new conservation charity, which is the largest of its kind to be launched in recent years, supports and manages 5,000 acres. Its flagship nursery project is a £5 million glasshouse in Hyde Park, the size of a football pitch and with a Wimbledon-style retractable roof, which, when completed, will provide 98% of the 500,000 plants and shrubs needed across the capital’s eight Royal Parks.
‘I remember as a very small child,’ says the Prince, ‘being taken around Richmond Park with my great grandmother, Queen Mary, in her wonderful old, upright green Daimler. As a result, those parks, in particular Richmond Park, are imprinted on my childhood memory in a very special way.’
Loyd Grossman, the charity’s chairman, points out that 77 million people visit the Royal Parks every year. ‘they contribute immeasurably to the distinctiveness of London, which is the greatest city in the world, and to the attractiveness of life in our wonderful country… We are absolutely determined that these parks will always remain the best parks in the world for future generations.’
the charity is a merger of two organisations that have previously run the parks, the Royal Parks Agency and Royal Parks Foundation (www.royalparks.org.uk).