Wearing a designer headscarf, the 96-year-old monarch, who has suffered mobility issues and other health issues for the past seven months, made a rare public appearance to the delight of a cheering crowd at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
She was all smiles, walking slowly but steadily with the aid of a stick, chatting amiably with her family, friends and assistants, and celebrating the nomination of one of her horses as supreme champion in a category in the arena. main.
Her public appearance at the horse show, which is held within the grounds of Windsor Castle and attracts thousands of equestrian fans over four days, has given a boost to courtiers who hope she will be well enough to attend the events of his Jubilee.
It was her first public appearance since Prince Philip’s memorial service at Westminster Abbey on March 29 and it came just days after she caused consternation by withdrawing from attending the opening official of Parliament, handing over one of its most important constitutional offices to Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge. Buckingham Palace blamed it on his “episodic” mobility issues.
Top royal aides hope the Queen, who lost weight and went to hospital in October with an unexplained medical condition, will be able to attend at least some of the main events of her Jubilee weekend, including Trooping the Colour, the Derby at Epsom Downs and a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.
But everything will depend on how she feels during the day because of the discomfort she sometimes feels while moving.
She looked in fine form yesterday, laughing and chatting to assistants and horse show officials through a window for 50 minutes as she sat in a Range Rover and watched parade participants, including her horse Balmoral Leia, a five-year-old gray mare, who won the Highland Class 64 event.
As the audience waved camera phones, the Queen had a long chat with retired racehorse trainer Henrietta Knight, shared a joke with Colin Brooks, chairman of the show’s committee, and discussed the finest points of the competition with her husband Terry Pendry.
Cathy Paige, an American tourist from Massachusetts, couldn’t believe how lucky she was to find herself just yards from the Queen after joining a friend at the show.
She said, “I didn’t expect to see her. It was a wish, a dream, but never a possibility. I came for the ride and I had the ride of my life.”
“We were 10 feet away from Her Majesty, she was exactly as I expected, with perfectly styled hair – she looked perfect. It was a moment I will never forget, I even made eye contact .
The Queen was taken back to the castle but returned to join the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Prince Philip’s former carriage driving partner Penny Romsey – Countess Mountbatten – in the main arena for half an hour.
In a navy coat and gray skirt, she walked a few yards to a lift at the back of the royal box before walking by stick to her seat between Prince Edward and Countess Mountbatten to the applause of the crowd.
She was thrilled when Balmoral Leia was declared the winner of the Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme in Hand Championship, then watched Edward and Sophie’s daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, drive her late grandfather’s car at the head of a parade marking the centenary. of the Fell Pony Society.
The Queen, who is expected to chair a family reunion and try to mend broken relationships when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex return to Britain with their children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, 11 months, for the weekend of central three-week jubilee, will be grilled at tens of thousands of street parties and other events across the country during the double bank holiday weekend of June 2-5.
Ministers announced yesterday that more than 70,000 large Jubilee lunches are planned across the UK’s four countries over the weekend, and that 10 million people are expected to sit down with their neighbors on Sunday June 5 to celebrate Her Majesty’s record reign.
Large screens will be set up outside in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff so that thousands of people can gather to watch the main events next month.
In another move to mark the occasion, the BBC is offering local communities a special one-time TV license waiver so they can use a big screen to show the events.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: ‘No other British monarch has reached this milestone and we will celebrate it with tradition, pomp and circumstance.
“I hope people and communities across the country will come together to pay their respects to Her Majesty – whether it’s watching on the big screen or toasting Her Majesty at a grand Jubilee luncheon with their neighbors or meet at their local party hall.”
Her department is today launching an activity pack for children to help them learn about the Queen’s reign. It includes articles on how the country has changed over the past seven decades, opportunities to color a corgi or crown, and banners to decorate for street parties.