Duchess of Cornwall aflutter in butterfly print dress and feather in her hat as she attends service to honour military heroes with Prince Charles

Green-fingered Duchess of Cornwall isn't afraid to get her hands dirty as she gets stuck in with gardening duties on city farm

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UPDATED:

18:36 GMT, 30 May 2012

The Duchess of Cornwall took to the streets yesterday for a spot of ‘urban gardening’.

Despite wearing her priceless diamond engagement ring from Prince Charles, Camilla declined to use any gloves as she potted up plants and herbs at four small community sites across East London.

A keen gardener herself, she volunteered her services as part of the first Chelsea Fringe Festival, inspired by last week’s world-famous Royal Horticultural Society flower show.

At one site, Spitalfields City Farm, which was set up by volunteers in 1978, she gamely dug in tomato plants, cuddled a baby lamb and even tried her hand in a runner bean tossing competition, in which she scored by throwing a bean pod into a bucket on her third attempt.

Greenfingered: The Duchess of Cornwall meets staff and volunteers as she toured gardens in Shoreditch and Dalston as part of a visit to the Chelsea Fringe Festival today

Greenfingered: The Duchess of Cornwall meets staff and volunteers as she toured gardens in Shoreditch and Dalston as part of a visit to the Chelsea Fringe Festival today

She also chatted with members of the farm’s ‘Coriander Club’, which was set up by local Bangladeshi women who wanted a space from which to grow herbs and vegetables from their home country.

In the gardens of the picturesque Geffrye Museum nearby she also created a pretty tub of sweet-smelling herbs to take home with her including thyme, evening primrose and sage.

Her last engagement was at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, which until just a few years ago had been a derelict, rubbish-strewn patch of land but is now a London oasis of greenery.

Animal magic: The Duchess met three-week-old lamb Grace at Spitalfields City Farm

Animal magic: The Duchess met three-week-old lamb Grace at Spitalfields City Farm

The stunning, sun dappled garden has been built on an old railway line in an area with little green public space and is open seven days a week for people to relax, get involved in workshops and to enjoy growing, cooking and sharing food.

She also admired the work of ‘pothole guerrilla gardener’ Steve Wheen who goes around the capital city planting greenery in holes in the streets and roads to create a splash of colour – and added a touch of her own to one of his displays, a red velvet throne.

Camilla waxed lyrical about the joys
of getting stuck in, saying; ‘I love gardening and find it very
therapeutic. I am quite used to get my hands dirty, it will wash off
after all. It is marvellous to see so many people getting involved.’

As
Camilla was gardening, the Queen was marking her forthcoming Diamond
Jubilee celebrations with a lunch at the Caledonian Club in London with
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment
of Scotland.

The Duchess shares a joke with other visitors at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, left

The Duchess shares a joke with other visitors at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, left, as she tours the grounds and admires the flowers

Blooming: The Duchess shares a joke with other visitors at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, left, as she tours the grounds and admires the flowers

Accompanied by her Lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey, she was met by Colonel Bruce Russell, Representative Colonel of the regiment. The Queen is the Royal Colonel of the Argyll’s but has been associated with the regiment for 65 years and the lunch was held to celebrate her long involvement.

Earlier in the day, the Duchess of Cornwall reflected the joys of spring with a butterfly print dress and feather in her hat as she attended a church service with Prince Charles to celebrate Britain's bravest military and civilian heroes.

Past and present recipients of the Victoria Cross, the military's highest accolade, and the George Cross, which is awarded for acts of bravery by civilians, were honoured at the service in St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London.

Crowds gathered outside the church to catch a glimpse of the Royal couple as they arrived with some 800 guests.

Paying tribute: The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were all smiles as they arrived at the service to celebrate military and civilian heroes

Paying tribute: The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were all smiles as they arrived at the service to celebrate military and civilian heroes

Camilla wore a cream and black butterfly print dress dress and cream jacket by Fiona Clare, with matching hat with black bird feathers by Philip Treacy.

She smiled as she walked up the steps to the church carrying a brown clutch bag which matched her tan heels, which were in a style favoured by her step-daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge. She further accessorised with pearl earrings and a necklace.

Spring in her step: Camilla wore a cream dress and jacket by Fiona Claire with a Philip Treacy hat

Spring in her step: Camilla wore a cream dress and jacket by Fiona Claire with a Philip Treacy hat

Spring in her step: Camilla wore a cream dress and jacket by Fiona Claire with a Philip Treacy hat

The Prince, who is president of The Victoria Cross (VC) and George Cross (GC) Association, wore seven medals on his jacket, including the Diamond Jubilee medal to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne.

Among those who attended was Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, who suffered serious injuries during an act of bravery in 2004 which helped earn him the VC.

The Rt Rev Michael Hill told the
congregation: 'You have no idea how proud and humbled I feel standing
before you today. The Victoria Cross and George Cross are small medals
with huge significance. It is about people and their lives and their
stories.'

After the
service, the Prince and Duchess attended a reception with 22 VC and GC
holders at the Naval & Military Club, in St James's Square, London.

The Prince wore seven medals on his jacket, including the Diamond Jubilee medal to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne, while Camilla wore pearls

The Prince wore seven medals on his jacket, including the Diamond Jubilee medal to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne, while Camilla wore pearls

The Prince wore seven medals on his jacket, including the Diamond Jubilee medal to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the throne, while Camilla wore pearls

Prince charming: The Prince spent time greeting people who had gathered outside the service at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Prince charming: The Prince spent time greeting people who had gathered outside the service at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London