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  1. The passion of a poet
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Jumping heir — Also a keen horseman, Charles is pictured here taking part in a steeplechase event in She was years of age and still actively involved in the sport before her passing the following year. National mystery — In , the Queen Mother's horse Devon Loch famously fell while leading the prestigious Grand National steeplechase, unseating jockey Dick Francis just yards from victory.

Family gathering — Here Queen Elizabeth is flanked by her mother and her late sister Princess Margaret right at the Epsom Derby in Royal winner — Britain's royals have strong links to racing.

Elusive Derby — More recently, they are seen here at the Epsom Derby. It is the one English Classic the Queen has failed to win as an owner.


The passion of a poet

Her horse Sign Manual was among the winners at the meeting. Royal point — The Queen's latest daughter-in-law -- Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge -- has also joined in the family passion. She is seen here at the Cheltenham Festival steeplechase meeting in March Royal addition — The royal family's love of horses is likely to be passed on to the latest addition -- baby Prince George, who was presented to the world by his proud parents William and Catherine in July.

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Story highlights The British royal family are avid followers of horse racing Queen Elizabeth II owns Gold Cup winner Estimate She takes active role in Royal bloodstock and training operation The late Queen Mother had winners in her racing colors. His uncle Harry has promised the newest addition to the royal family that he will have "fun" -- and if a centuries old tradition is to be followed, it is an odds on certainty that horse racing will play a prominent role in young Prince George's future social life.

A love of horses and thoroughbred racing is ingrained in the House of the Windsor, and Prince George's great grandmother Queen Elizabeth II is a leading owner with a string of top horses. Fittingly, the year-old's most notable achievement is winning the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot with Estimate, a four-year-old filly guided by time British champion trainer Michael Stoute. More Videos Queen joyous at Royal Ascot win Fashion and glamor at Royal Ascot Jockey brings Panama flavor to Germany Ridden by Ryan Moore, Estimate stormed to victory in the prestigious Group One race in June, the first time in its year history that the British monarch had owned the winner.

Only the Epsom Derby eludes the queen, who saw her latest hope, Carlton House, come home third in after starting as favorite.

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The Queen Mother had a long, successful affiliation with steeplechase racing, where horses run longer distances than flat horses and have to negotiate jumps or hurdles. She died in at the age of , but during her lifetime had winners in her royal colors. Read: Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years on the throne. But like her daughter, success in the most prestigious event -- the Grand National, jump racing's equivalent of the Derby -- remained a dream for the Queen Mother. Is Frankel the greatest racehorse ever? Black Caviar fans flock to Royal Ascot Black Caviar arrives for Royal Ascot She was cruelly denied success in the edition when her horse Devon Loch, ridden by Dick Francis, led on the run-in at Aintree before falling to the turf unexpectedly.

It was said the horse became distracted by the ear-shattering noise from a loyal crowd, desperate for a royal winner, and missed a stride. While racing is often called the "Sport of Kings," in Britain "Sport of Queens" is just as appropriate.

Sixties, The | McGill-Queen’s University Press

According to official records, Queen Victoria is said to have become so excited while watching a race at Ascot that she broke the window of the Royal Box in a rush to see the finish. Her great great grand daughter would surely never be guilty of such unseemly behavior, but as Estimate stormed clear in the final furlong at Royal Ascot she could be seen with the broadest of smiles and maybe a hint of a tear. She told me it was a very big thrill and thanked everybody involved.

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  • Her grandson Peter Phillips put it more succinctly. That passion extends to a day-to-day involvement with her bloodstock and training operation. The King himself oversaw the design of his coronation robes, including the crimson velvet surcoat and a stole made from cloth of silver, gold thread and silk, embroidered with the national flowers of the United Kingdom. The crown was set with more than 12, diamonds that had been hired for the occasion.

    George wanted to keep the crown after the ceremony, but Parliament refused to support the cost. The King therefore commissioned a gilt-bronze cast of the Imperial State Crown, which is on public display for the first time.

    The Queen's Passion for the Sport of Kings

    The Diamond Diadem has been regularly worn by queens regnant and consorts ever since, and today Her Majesty The Queen wears the circlet to and from the State Opening of Parliament. At the coronation banquet, works were displayed from the Grand Service, an unrivalled 4,piece collection of dining and buffet silver-gilt that George first commissioned when Prince of Wales and is still used today at State Banquets. George acquired works of art with abandon to decorate his residences, and these remain some of the greatest items in the Royal Collection. George admired pictures of painterly quality with a high degree of finish and strong narrative content, particularly Dutch and Flemish 17th-century works.

    The painting was first acquired by Charles I and sold after his execution, before being purchased by George in One of the highlights of his Kunstkammer is the Nautilus cup and cover by Nikolaus Schmidt, which stands at more than half a metre in height. This unusually large shell is elaborately mounted with silver-gilt figures of Jupiter, Neptune, a mythical sea creature called a hippocamp and four double-tailed mermaids playing instruments.

    In his library at Carlton House, George read voraciously on topics ranging from geography and military history to the work of Jane Austen. His enthusiasm for sport included horseriding, boxing, cricket and fencing. After a breach of diplomatic discretion, he was forced to leave for London, where he lived and fenced as a woman.

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