The award was established in 1897 "in perpetual remembrance of Her Majesty’s glorious reign, and to enable the Council to confer honour on British horticulturists." The Society's rules state that only sixty-three horticulturists can hold the VMH at any given time, in commemoration of the sixty-three years of Queen Victoria's reign. Therefore the honour is not awarded every year, but may be made to multiple awardees in other years.
1897 - The first 60 medallists
The first 60 medals were awarded on 26 October 1897Dr Brent Elliott, Victoria Medal of Honour 1897 - 1997, The Royal Horticultural Society, (London:1997):