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Rachel de Thame: ‘I was banned from breastfeeding at Chelsea flower show’

The Gardener’s World presenter Rachel de Thame has revealed that she was once prevented from breastfeeding at the Chelsea flower show while filming.

The 53-year-old model turned gardening expert said she had been juggling motherhood and her career in front of the camera well until the moment she “wasn’t allowed” to breastfeed at the flower show.

“[T]here was one occasion when I was filming at the Chelsea flower show and I wasn’t allowed to breast-feed,” she told the Radio Times in an interview published on Tuesday.

“I’m an earth mother. I liked being pregnant and giving birth and breastfeeding. Up until that point, the job I was doing was working really well with juggling the kids, but not then.”

De Thame did not specify when the incident happened or in which capacity she was filming, and gave no other details . She became a presenter on BBC2’s flagship gardening series in 1999 and has presented the BBC1 and BBC2 coverage of horticultural shows including Chelsea. She has two children aged 26 and 23 from her first marriage to Stephen Colover and two daughters from her second marriage who are now 11 and nine.

De Thame told the magazine that she “absolutely” thought women and men were equal in the world of horticulture and design, but pointed out that there had been a gender disparity at Chelsea this year. “[H]aving said there are as many opportunities for men as there are for women, I did notice that there weren’t many show gardens designed this year at Chelsea and I am not sure what that is about,” she added.

“Maybe the same issues that affect women working in other spheres do affect women in horticulture. We have babies. We are not available for full-time work. It’s tricky but we definitely need both male and female designers in order to get balance.”


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