The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: The Royal Horses
Sometimes it’s not the horses that matter. Go to Royal Ascot in any normal year, and feel the expectation, watch the crowds forming. See how long they wait, just for a glimpse.
The horses they catch sight of as they crane their necks, well-groomed though they are, would be eclipsed in a matter of strides by the equine athletes out on the racecourse. But their emergence into the winner’s enclosure and through to the back of the grandstands nonetheless signifies something special. They are pulling the coach that carries the Queen, and the arrival of the monarch generates as much excitement at a racecourse as a thrilling finish between the first and second favourites.
After its cancellation due to the pandemic in 2020, and a reduced showing in 2021, the hope for Royal Ascot in June this year must be that it will return to its full splendour, and that her Majesty will be fit to attend.
See also: Platinum Jubilee Fashion Special – the Queen’s Style
Horseracing and royalty have had an inexorable link for centuries, from Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth through to Charles II, who spent as much time in Newmarket as he did in London. From Queen Anne, the monarch who instituted the glorious pageant of Royal Ascot, to King Edward VII, the owner of three Derby winners.
For all that history, no royal has created quite as strong a bond with horseracing as our present Queen. Her distinctive purple and scarlet silks, with their famous gold braid and black cap and tassle, cause a stir whenever they are seen on the racecourse. ‘Hats off to the Queen’ is a common refrain whenever she has a winner, especially at Royal Ascot.