THE QUEEN and Prince Philip posed together for a rare photo to mark the Duke of Edinburgh’s 99th birthday. But there is one reason the Queen may have wished to get away as quickly as possible after the picture was taken.
Queen Elizabeth II, 94, is one of Britain’s biggest racehorse owners and breeders and is passionate about the sport. As an avid racing fan, the Queen will have been delighted when it became the first UK sport to return amid the coronavirus crisis.
Horse racing returned behind doors on Monday, June 1 with a ten-race card at Newcastle.
At the time Daily Express royal correspondent Richard Palmer reported the Queen “devoted part of her afternoon to watching the sport’s return.”
While Buckingham Palace refused to comment on whether the Queen watched the racing or not, royal sources told Mr Palmer she tuned in for part of ITV’s live coverage.
June 1 was a busy day for the Queen as it was also the day she posed for a new photograph with her husband Prince Philip to mark his upcoming 99th birthday on June 10.
In the portrait of the couple – taken by the Press Association’s photographer Steve Parsons – the Queen’s watch appears to show it’s midday.
As the first race at Newcastle kicked off at 1pm, the Queen may have dashed off to watch her beloved horses the moment the photo session was done.
Given that both the Queen and Philip have posed for countless photographs throughout her 68-year reign, it seems more than likely the photo was over with quickly and she was able to catch the racing with plenty of time to spare.
Prince Philip’s birthday portrait was not the only picture taken at Windsor Castle that week.
The Queen was also captured by Parsons riding out on horseback in the castle grounds.
Two powerful images of the Queen riding her beloved Fell pony Balmoral Fern were shared by the Royal Family Twitter account on May 31.
The tweet read: “The Queen is pictured riding Fern – a 14-year-old Fell Pony – in Windsor Home Park this weekend.”
The release of the iconic images coincided with the UK Government relaxing shielding measures for those most vulnerable to coronavirus.
The easing of these measures meant that elderly Britons and those with underlying health conditions were able to go outside again for the first time since March.
How will Prince Philip mark his 99th birthday?
As Prince Philip turns 99 on Wednesday it is understood he wants as little fuss as possible made over his big day.
The Duke and the Queen have been based at Windsor Castle together since March and are expected to mark Philip’s milestone with a lunch.
Philip is also expected to take part in Zoom calls with other Royal Family members in the afternoon.
One royal correspondent has claimed the Duke may take particular joy in using modern video call technology.
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said: “The Duke has always been a moderniser and fond of technology and I suspect he will enjoy communicating virtually in various ways with other members of the royal family enormously.”
Prince Philip and the Queen usually spend their summers at Balmoral in Scotland but trip is unlikely to go ahead this year.