The Royal Windsor Horse Show starts – but without Queen Elizabeth

The Royal Windsor Horse Show starts – but without Queen Elizabeth

May 10, 2023

The prestigious Royal Windsor Horse Show starts today, an annual highlight for the Royal Family. But for the first time in its history, one VERY special guest will be missing….

  •  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth never looked happier than when attending
  •  It became a family affair, with Philip, Anne, Edward and Lady Louise taking part

The Royal Windsor Horse Show, which opens today, has been one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the royal calendar, not just because of the quality of the entertainment but because of its close connection with the late Queen.

It was 1943 when a 23-year-old Princess Elizabeth attended the very first show, which had been staged in Windsor Home Park to raise funs for the war effort, in the company of her parents and her sister, Margaret.

She took first place in the Pony and Dogcart class – and returned for every show since.

Royal observers feel it was one of the happiest public engagements for the Queen, who could often be seen laughing and smiling, as these pictures show.

Queen Elizabeth, pictured here in 1968, was in her element at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

Princesses Elizabeth (right) and Margaret collect a trophy in 1944, the show’s second year

Queen Elizabeth in fits of laughter in the Royal Box at the 1982 event

The late Queen often seemed at her happiest when attending the show, pictured here with Camilla, then duchess of Cornwall, in 2011

It  soon became a family affair.

Her daughter Princess Anne, another skilled rider, competed in showjumping events and Prince Philip took part in carriage driving until his retirement in 2003. 

Prince Edward, Lady Louise Windsor and even a young Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie have taken part, too. 

The Queen, meanwhile, entered her own homebred horses in the competitions.  

This is the first show that Queen Elizabeth, who died in September, has missed, although it was reported that in 1991 a security guard attempted to refuse her entry as she didn’t have a ‘sticker’.

The Queen is said to have replied: ‘I think if you check, I will be allowed to come in!’ 

She even appeared at the show in 2022, having missed that year’s State Opening of Parliament through illness. 

That very first day in 1943 was not a complete success for the Royal Family, as King George VI had a piece of chicken stole from his lunch plate by a lurcher.

Dogs have been banned from the showground ever since. 

The 1940s

Princess Elizabeth feeds a horse from a trophy cup. The horse is wearing  a rosette for 1st Prize at the 1944 Windsor Horse Show, just the second time it had been staged

Princess Elizabet with Third Prize winner Holyport at the 1949 show

The 1950s 

Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh with Charles and Anne watch the Child’s Pony competition at the 1955 show

Queen Elizabeth arriving for the final day of the 1956 event with Anne and Charles in tow

 The 1960s

Princess Anne, a talented rider like her mother, at the horse show in May 1961

A young Prince Andrew, right, with his mother at the showground in 1968

A laughing Queen Elizabeth walks through the mud in wellies in 1968

 The 1970s

Prince Charles is amused at the 1971 event as he watches his father in a  polo game

The Queen is surrounded by corgis while Philip takes part in the Marathon Coaching Event

Princess Anne on  her horse Columbus in the 1972 show-jumping section

Queen Elizabeth braves the May weather with a pink cape in 1979

Princess Margaret made an appearance at the 1978 horse show

The 1980s 

The Queen in smart riding gear for this day of the 1988 event

A keen photographer, The Queen took her Leica camera to the 1982 Royal Windsor Horse Show

Prince Philip and Prince Edward race a carriage at one of the 1980s shows 

Sarah, Duchess of York with daughter Beatrice at the horse show in 1990

 The 1990s

Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson and their daughters Beatrice and Eugenie in 1992

Her Majesty talks to stall holders at one of the trade stands in 1998

The 2000s

Sophie, Countess of Wessex looks at paintings in one of the showground shops in 2000

The Queen smiles as her horse, March Past II, competed in 2005

The 2010s 

Presenting rosettes in for the 2010 Windsor Horse Show

Queen Elizabeth II laughs as she receives a Tesco gift card as a prize after her horse Barber’s shop won  at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park in 2016

Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, takes part in a carriage driving competition at the 2017 event

The 2020s 

Queen Elizabeth drives her Range Rover at the 2021 show

She looks delighted to receive a winner’s cup at the 2022 Royal Windsor Horse Show, part of her Platinum Jubilee Celebrations. It would prove to be the last she would attend

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