King Charles receives first seedling from felled Sycamore Gap tree

The King has been given the first seedling from the famous Sycamore Gap tree, which was cut down last year.

The National Trust has presented the monarch with the first seedling grown from seeds collected from the felled landmark for Celebration Day.

The event takes place on the last bank holiday Monday in May and is designed to encourage people to remember and celebrate the lives of those no longer here, according to organisers.

Once the seedling has matured into a sapling, the monarch will have it planted in Windsor Great Park for visitors to enjoy as a symbol of the hope and beauty that can come from loss, the National Trust said.

"When the seedling has grown, His Majesty hopes to scale it in Windsor Great Park, where in time the wind will help ensure that its seeds, in their turn, are still more widely distributed," Buckingham Palace said in a statement on X.

"Part of the power of trees to move and console us lies in the continuity and hope they represent: the sense that, rooted in the past and flourishing in the present, their seeds will be carried into an as yet unimaginable future."

The King is patron to the National Trust and was its president from 2003 until his ascension to the throne in 2022.

Hilary McGrady, director general of the National Trust, said: "It is wonderful news that His Majesty will one day have the very first sapling grown from this iconic tree.

"The new tree will be seen by many thousands each year and will be the first of many Sycamore Gap saplings planted at different places, in Northumberland and beyond.

"The swell of emotion we saw after the sycamore was felled goes to show how personally connected we all are to our natural heritage.

"These new green shoots are keeping the story of the Sycamore Gap alive and are serving as a reminder of the simple and much-needed hope, joy and respite that nature can bring."

Read more from Sky News:
Warning of 'danger to life' from flooding as thunderstorms strike
More than 2,000 people buried alive in Papua New Guinea
Israeli airstrikes 'kill 45' after Hamas launched rockets at Tel Aviv

It comes after a district judge said the case of two men accused of felling the tree is too serious for a magistrates' court and must be dealt with at the crown court.

The public got its first glimpse of the seedling at the Chelsea Flower Show on 20 May when Dame Judi Dench placed it in the Octavia Hill garden - which is named after the National Trust's founder.

The Sycamore Gap tree was among the most photographed trees in the UK and was made famous in a scene in Kevin Costner's 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

The National Trust said planting plans for the other surviving seedlings will be announced later this year.

It is hoped the trees these seedlings grow into, including the one received by the King, will distribute their own seeds widely through the wind.