Written for Royal Central by Jess Ilse
The Queen’s lifelong love of horses is getting the fairy tale treatment with an upcoming book by celebrated author Michael Morpurgo.
There Once is a Queen is an illustrated story of how the young Queen Elizabeth II was gifted a Shetland pony by her father, King George VI and traces her life and reign from that moment. The book is illustrated by Michael Foreman.
Morpurgo spoke with The Queen in 2016 and learned firsthand the story of Peggy the Shetland pony and how it sparked her love of horses. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he said: “[The Queen] told me how it was to walk down to the yard and there was this horse, and she would reach up and touch the neck.
“Those were the words she used. She talked very, very movingly about her love for this horse. This was a life-changing moment. From that moment on, horses were going to be part of her life.”
The book jacket reads: “There once was a little girl, a princess, who became a queen, our Queen Elizabeth. Now, seventy years later, her reign as the longest serving female monarch in history has seen her stand steadfast through triumph and tribulation, and through the monumental changes that have shaped our world, as this remarkable queen has remained devoted to crown, to country… and a corgi or two!
“Beginning with the queen as a little girl, planting an oak tree with her father, There Once is a Queen follows her incredible story in a way that will bring this historic reign vividly to life for readers around the world, big and small. An exquisite gift book and commemoration of the Platinum Jubilee, it marks a unique moment in our shared history and will be a treasured keepsake for generations to come.”
Morpurgo is considered one of Britain’s leading children’s authors. Earlier this year, he helped celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by planting an oak sapling from Windsor Great Park.
There Once is a Queen will be published later this summer to coincide with the Platinum Jubilee.