CENTENARY celebrations at an award-winning Hampshire attraction have been given the royal seal of approval by Princes Charles.

The heir to the throne visited Exbury Gardens in the New Forest to mark 100 years since the woodland site was created in 1919 by banker Lionel de Rothschild.

During his visit the prince was given a tour of the new Centenary Garden by its award-winning designer Marie-Louise Agius, Lionel’s great grand-daughter.

He also met members of the Rothschild family who still live at Exbury, plus some of the gardeners, estate staff and volunteers.

Daily Echo:

An Exbury spokesman said: “The Centenary Garden contains subtle nods to the Rothschild family history and has been planted with a particular focus on mid to late summer.

“It was planted two years ago in an old tennis court, almost at the centre of Exbury Gardens, and was carefully hidden from public view while it grew and matured.

“Now open to visitors, its scores of beautiful shrubs, climbers and perennials are in full bloom, providing a peaceful and fragrant spot for the public to explore.”

Prince Charles marked his visit by planting a drought-resistant ornamental beech tree.

He was following in the footsteps of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, who have also planted trees at Exbury over the years.

The colourful gardens overlooking the Beaulieu River have been open to the public since the 1950s.

Daily Echo:

Lionel de Rothschild is the grandson of the site’s founder and the current chairman of Exbury Gardens Trust.

He said: “We are deeply honoured that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has opened the new Centenary Garden.

“Over the past one hundred years, members of the Royal Family have been welcomed a number of times to Exbury Gardens to enjoy their beauty and to plant commemorative trees.”

Guests included the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson, the High Sheriff of Hampshire, Sarah Le May, the chairman of New Forest District Council, Cllr Allan Glass, the chairman of Hampshire County Council, Cllr Charles Choudhary.

Marcus Agius is the chairman of the board of directors of Exbury Gardens.

He said: “We are delighted that His Royal Highness met our gardening team and the volunteers who work so diligently to keep Exbury Gardens looking beautiful."