The Queen’s lifelong love for horses is on display in new unseen footage where she affectionately pets and feeds the animals in Sandringham.
The monarch, 96, described one of the horses as an ‘extraordinary girl’ and is heard to say she wonders what goes through the creature’s head.
The clips, filmed at the Royal Stud in Sandringham in April, will be shown in a special feature as part of ITV’s Saturday Platinum Jubilee coverage.
The Queen, a keen horseracing fan, will not attend the Epsom Derby this weekend, but will be watching on television.
In the clips, she observed various horses and foals, alongside her trusted bloodstock and racing adviser John Warren.
Mr Warren, who has been an adviser to the monarch for more than 13 years and also represents other leading horse owners from across the globe, was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) in the latest Queen’s honours.
Gently stroking the coat of one of the horses, the Queen is heard to say: “Well it must be three or four years when she came down into Windsor yard, but behaved as though she’d always been there.”
Admiring the horse, she added: ‘Extraordinary girl, aren’t you?’
Another clip showed the Queen asking a horse ‘would you like another one?’ before picking a carrot from a bowl and feeding it.
Later, observing two horses walking alongside each other in the yard, the Queen is heard to say: ‘I often wonder what goes through her head.’
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Ryan Moore also feature in the ITV special with presenter Ed Chamberlin, which was filmed at The Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket in May.
In the ITV feature, Mr Moore praised the Queen for letting him ride with ‘complete freedom’.
He said: ‘There is no pressure at all… she’s always let me ride with complete freedom and it’s been a tremendous honour for me.’
In May, the Queen attended the Windsor Horse Show and was also the guest of honour at the equestrian extravaganza A Gallop Through History, the first major event of the Jubilee festivities.
In his sermon for the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Archbishop of York compared the monarch’s well-known love of horse racing to her long reign, suggesting it ‘reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom’.
Horses have been the Queen’s lifelong passion
More than any other interest, horses and ponies have been the Queen’s passion throughout her long life.
The monarch’s love for the equine world is something she shared with her mother and she has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years.
Thoroughbreds owned by the Queen have won four out of the five flat racing classics – the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger – with only the Derby eluding her.
The monarch’s horse Dunfermline, ridden by jockey Willie Carson, gave the Queen her most famous victory, triumphing in the Oaks and St Leger in her Silver Jubilee year 1977.
In recent years the Queen made sporting history when she became the first reigning monarch to win Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup with her thoroughbred Estimate in 2013.
She has also notched up more than 20 winners at Royal Ascot – one of the premier events of the racing season.
From early childhood the Queen was surrounded by horses and relatives who owned, rode and talked about them.
Her first reported riding lesson took place in the private riding school at Buckingham Palace Mews in January 1930, when she was still only three years old.
When she was five the Queen Mother led her on Peggy, a Shetland pony given to her when she was four by her grandfather King George V, to a meet of the Pytchley Hounds at Boughton Cover.
After she became sovereign in February 1952, the Queen inherited the royal colours: purple, gold braid, scarlet sleeves, black velvet cap with gold fringe.
Her first winner as Queen came just a few months later when Choir Boy passed the winning post ahead of the field to claim the Wilburton Handicap at Newmarket that May.
The next few years were a golden period for her horses and in 1954 and again in 1957 she was named the leading winner-owner.
Over the following decades, she pursued her keen interest in horse breeding, sending her mares to stud farms around the world as well as breeding animals at home.
The Queen’s horses and ponies, which number around 180, are kept at various royal residences and stables from Sandringham to Balmoral.
The monarch takes a keen interest in their breeding and training and is respected for her knowledge of the equine world.
But the head of state famously does not bet and appears to get her enjoyment from watching her horses develop and compete.
The Queen’s cousin Margaret Rhodes, interviewed a number of years ago for a BBC documentary about the monarch’s passion for horse racing, said: ‘You see I think that early on, when she became Queen, I think that she had to sacrifice within herself an awful lot of emotions and thoughts of the future and everything else.
‘But I think with horses it’s another world in that it reduces you to just the person in relation to the animal, and you’re not a Queen, you’re just a human being.’
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Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee 2022
Dust off your Union Jack bunting, Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee is finally here.
Taking place from Thursday, June 2, to Sunday, June 5, the celebrations mark Her Majesty’s record-breaking 70th year on the throne.