The Queens Gnome

Inspired by Esther Rantzen’s comment on Radio 4 – 13 April 2022

There never is!

There is too! 


Yeah! I know for a fact he didn’t make it up. He worked in Her Majesty’s gardens on work experience. His mum wrote to the Queen and asked ‘cos he wanted to be a gardener!

Blimey! That were a bit of a liberty!

I know! But it worked! He did some weeding in ‘the children’s patch’ as the Royal Gardens Team called it.

But really? Her Majesty has a garden gnome?

A Scottish Garden Gnome 

With a kilt?

A kilt and bagpipes!

I can’t imagine the Queen having a gnome in her garden,

It’s in a small garden thats walled off from the rest. He told me The Children’s Garden was carved into the wood. It was in Victorian writing on the old door in the wall. The garden team told him it was started by Queen Victoria for her children. They say Charles spent hours there as a boy.

Did he say anything else about the garden?

Well, there’s a rockery. He thinks that’s what started it – the rockery. ‘cos it  has lots of Scottish heathers growing all over it.

So it’s like a mini highland landscape?

Yup! Oh and I remember he said there was a rill as well.

What’s a rill?

A little stream running down through the rocks. Just like in in the highlands.

Did he take a picture? 

I asked him that but it were not allowed in ‘fficial secrets he had to sign.


He didn’t have a camera anyway. Couldn’t afford one. Not like nowadays with those smartphone things that every kid seems to have.

So how come you know about it? This Royal Garden Gnome?

Well it were quite a clandestine affair — on the quiet!

You know some big words

Well they called me ‘College’ back in the day when I worked on the old London to Lowestoft Line.

‘College’ were your nickname on the railways!

Yeah! ‘cos I had an O level from school and liked reading stuff in tea breaks, back then.

So whats this clandestine — ‘on-the-quiet’ thing then?

Well he remembered that I mended his mums figurine. He were always a clumsy child. Bam Bam! we used to call him. Well he had to smuggle the gnome out in his rucksack overnight ‘cos he’d knocked it over with his spade and broke the bagpipes clean off!

Off of the actual Queens Gnome?

The very same.

Blimey! You might get a knighthood for mending something like that!

Yeah! but they don’t know do they? It’s a ‘fishal secret tween you and me!

No ones meant to know about ‘Her Gnome’ in the first place.

I bet the papers would be interested.

Nah! It were years ago. It might not be there anymore. They hadn’t invented superglue back then so I did my best with some glue from my model plane kit.

Maybe Prince Charles has got one too in that house he’s got in Scotland

What a Gnome ?

I wouldn’t put it past him.

With or without bagpipes do you recon?

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