Happy 96th birthday Your Majesty!

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An image released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the Queen's 96th birthday. Pic: henrydallalphotography.com

As the Queen celebrates her 96th birthday today (21st April 2022) a new photograph has been released to mark the occasion.

The wonderful photo shows the Queen standing in between two of her fell ponies holding their reins in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

To the left of the Queen is the pony Bybeck Nightingale and on her right is Bybeck Katie. Both horses will feature in the Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the Platinum Jubilee – A Gallop through History – a spectacular equestrian display showcasing horses from across the globe.

The Queen’s love of the equine world is something she inherited from both her parents. As well as a recreation, equestrianism has always been an important royal tradition.

A consummate horsewoman, the Queen has now been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years.

She received her first pony at the age of four from her grandfather King George V and inherited racehorses from her father, King George VI, in 1952 when she came to the throne. 

According to royal sources, one of the Queen’s favourite things to do is attend race meetings Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby cheering on the horses from her royal box.

And this year, her love of horses will be front and centre at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations with the Derby on Saturday, June 4, playing a key role in the extended jubilee weekend.

The Queen’s 96th birthday marks an unprecedented age for a British monarch, in a year in which she has become the first monarch to celebrate 70 years on the throne.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the Queen is one of about 124,000 people in the UK in the 95 to 99 age bracket.

The next longest-lived monarchs were Queen Victoria and George III, who both lived to the age of 81.

The monarch will be staying at the Duke of Edinburgh’s cottage Wood Farm today at Sandringham, a property she said her late husband “loved.”

A royal source said:

“The Queen decided very recently that on her birthday she wanted to be as close as possible to her late husband and in an environment that was very close to both of their hearts.

“Sandringham holds so many special memories for the Queen and Prince Philip as well as the rest of the royal family.

“It’s certainly a positive step that Her Majesty is feeling well enough and rested to enjoy her upcoming mini-break which she thoroughly deserves to celebrate her birthday.”

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