Seven months after her death, Queen Elizabeth’s final royal initiative has come to a close with a meaningful moment shared between King Charles and his son Prince William.
On Sunday, the two royals met in Sandringham, one of the queen’s favorite places, to plant an Acer tree in the home’s gardens to commemorate the end of this two-year-long project that meant so much to the late monarch. Queen Elizabeth launched her Green Canopy initiative in October 2021 as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, announcing her plan to plant millions of saplings across the U.K. Following her death last September, the initiative was extended as a memorial project to celebrate her legacy. According to the organization, since its launch in fall 2021, hundreds of members of the public, youth organizations, local authorities, and celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, and Sir David Attenborough all planted trees as a show of their support. In total, more than three million trees have been planted since the project began. King Charles and Queen Elizabeth also helped kick off the program by planting a copper beech tree at Balmoral, their Scottish home, together.
Upon planting the final sapling of the initiative, Charles released a statement about starting this project with his mother two years ago and celebrating the important contributions of everyone who participated in Green Canopy. “It is hard to believe that two years have passed since my mother and I planted a tree in Windsor Great Park to mark the commencement of The Queen’s Green Canopy,” he wrote. “As the second planting season draws to a close, and with it, this vitally important initiative, particularly wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone from across the United Kingdom who has helped to plant over three million trees to create an enduring legacy in Queen Elizabeth’s name.” The royal concluded, “This project has shown how simple, practical and positive gestures can make a big difference, and I can think of no more fitting tribute to Her late Majesty’s seventy-year reign,” signing the message, “Charles R.”
In conjunction with the final planting, a new film narrated by Dench that tells the story of how Green Canopy began and the enormous impact it’s had since its launch has been released. A mosaic artwork was also unveiled as part of the closing celebrations, made using thousands of photos of U.K. citizens posing with the Platinum Jubilee and memorial trees they’ve planted. The mosaic depicts a green canopy spelling out the queen’s “EIIR” royal cipher.
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.