The Duchess of Cornwall has described horse racing as the Queen’s “passion in life” as the royal family joined racegoers for the start of Royal Ascot.
Camilla has given a personal insight into the Queen’s life-long interest in thoroughbreds in a candid interview where she talks about her involvement with a London riding club and the monarchy’s strong connection with the equestrian world.
Her comments were aired as the duchess joined the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family for the first day of Royal Ascot week, which has welcomed racegoers for the first time since 2019.
Punters had hoped to see the Queen but her racing manager John Warren suggested if she has horses running later in the week the hope is she will attend.
Camilla has given an interview to ITV Racing which will feature excerpts throughout its Royal Ascot coverage this week, and commenting on the Queen and racing, she said: “Well I think this is her passion in life and she loves it, and you can tell how much she loves it.
“She could tell you every horse she’s bred and owned from the very beginning – she doesn’t forget anything. I can hardly remember what I bred a year ago but she’s encyclopaedic about her knowledge.”
Asked about Royal Ascot the duchess replied: “Everybody who loves racing, it is the most special week, isn’t it?”
Charles and Camilla – who wore a cream dress by Bruce Oldfield, with a matching mask, and a blue straw hat by Philip Treacy – gave racegoers something to cheer when they arrived by car, and not the traditionally carriage procession, ahead of the first race.
A group of royal women entered the racecourse on foot, with the Princess Royal joined by her daughter and son-in-law Zara and Mike Tindall.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex were also seen arriving at the Berkshire racecourse.
Her racing manager echoed Camilla’s words and described the head of state as “fanatic” about horse racing, and said her energy levels were “incredible” despite being five years away from turning 100.
Mr Warren told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “It’s remarkable. The Queen’s energy levels are incredible.
“She’s 95. She went down to the G7 this week, and trundled back on the train in the middle of the night, and the energy will be raised higher again for a week like Ascot.”
The monarch watched the racing on television from Windsor Castle, with her horse King’s Lynn a runner in the King’s Stand Stakes.
Anne and her daughter came down from the royal box to the parade ring to get a closer look at the thoroughbred opposition before the race began, and later Zara was spotted in the stands with her friend Dolly Maude watching in the open air.
Zara was seen shouting and pointing at the horses but the Queen failed to add to her tally of 24 Royal Ascot winners as her horse was well beaten.
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