MORE than 200 guests were joined by the Duchess of Rothesay to celebrate a special anniversary at Winton House on Wednesday.

Camilla was at the venue, by Pencaitland, as part of the celebrations for the 85th anniversary of the Scotland’s Gardens charity.

During her visit, which lasted just over an hour, she was welcomed by Sir Francis and Lady Ogilvy, who own Winton House, as well as representatives from the charity, of which she is president.

In glorious sunshine, she also took time to tour the gardens, and spoke with some of the charity’s volunteers and gardeners, who had travelled from all over Scotland for the occasion.

Her visit to Winton House was part of a three-day Royal visit to Scotland, with Prince Charles at The Princes Trust in Glasgow on Wednesday morning, but this was the only engagement in East Lothian.

At Winton House, the Duchess of Rothesay said: “What an honour it is to be part of Scotland’s Gardens and to be here today.

“I have not had nearly enough time to have a good walk round, but I saw what a wonderful place this is, and how lovely the gardens are.”

She was piped into the venue by Calum Ogilvy, one of Sir Francis and Lady Ogilvy’s sons, and introduced to the Lord Lieutenant for East Lothian, Michael Williams.

He was delighted to welcome the Duchess to the county for the first time, and told the Courier: “What a wonderful day.

“It is the first time she has been to East Lothian and I really hope she had a lovely day. We’ve reserved this lovely weather for her visit.”

Claire McNaughton, from Macplants, based at Boggs Holdings, enjoyed a brief conversation with Camilla on her tour.

Afterwards, Claire told the Courier: “She was talking about how everyone loves their gardens, and said she liked the Himalayan blue poppies.

“We also spoke about the gold medal we won at Gardening Scotland.”

Sarah Barron, a trustee of Scotland’s Gardens, was among the others to meet Camilla.

She added: “It was lovely to meet her and it all happened at the last minute – we [Sarah and Valerie Ross, of Maggie’s] weren’t expecting to meet her.

“She was lovely, and very easy to talk to.”

Valerie, meanwhile, added: “We chatted a lot about Maggie’s – Scotland’s Gardens has given £250,000 to Maggie’s since we became a beneficiary.

“It is a wonderful honour to be here today.”

The Duchess then planted a black mulberry tree in the gardens to the rear of the house, and met more volunteers before joining 220 guests and cutting a cake in a marquee.

David Mitchell, deputy chairman of Scotland’s Gardens, praised the work of all the volunteers.

He said: “For 85 years you have given a lot of time and effort into Scotland’s Gardens. You have a lot to be proud of, in communities all over Scotland.”

Winton House was chosen as the venue for the event as it is the longest-running garden to open for the charity, having done so every year, except one, since the charity began in 1931.

Sir Francis Ogilvy was delighted to welcome the Royal visitor to the estate.

He said: “It is a huge pleasure to have Her Royal Highness as our special guest, but it is lovely to see all the people who do not normally get recognised here as well. It has been a wonderful day and I think it has all gone well.”