The Queen was spotted taking in the scenery on the Windsor Castle grounds yesterday morning as she spent one of the hottest days this year enjoying some horseback riding. The UK is currently sizzling with record-breaking temperatures but Britain’s 91-year-old monarch looked cool and calm, perfectly at peace on a petite black horse with one of her riding masters at her side.
Prince Philip, who celebrated his 96 birthday on 10 June, was also seen happily taking his carriage and horses for a ride through the Windsor estate. The Duke of Edinburgh took carriage driving up competitively in the early 1970s, following his retirement from polo and though he suffered an injury in 2010 his keen interest has not decreased.
The Monday in June following Trooping the Colour – the official celebration of the monarch’s birthday – is usually filled with the pomp and pageantry of the Order of the Garter ceremony at Windsor, but the proceedings were cancelled this year as The Queen was due to appear at Westminster. With the opening of the parliamentary session then being pushed back from Monday to Wednesday however, The Queen and Prince Philip found their diaries for the day unexpectedly empty, and so decided to enjoy some time out of the spotlight in what is always a very public week for the royals.
The Queen’s love of horses is well known and no doubt talk yesterday during her ride will have turned to her prospects at this week’s Royal Ascot. Her Majesty has not missed a single day of the annual meet since her coronation and is due to attend every day of this year’s event, despite the fact that the State Opening of Parliament and Queen’s Speech on the morning of Wednesday, 21 June will potentially make her late for the day’s start. No word yet on whether the State Opening of Parliament will impact the daily royal carriage procession – a favourite moment for all Ascot attendees.