The Queen is a keen equestrian and has owned and ridden horses for most of her life (Picture: henrydallalphotography.com/PA)
A new photograph of the Queen showing her between two white ponies with a backdrop of tree blossom has been released to mark her birthday.
The monarch will turn 96 tomorrow, ahead of a weekend of celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee to mark 70 years on the throne.
In the new photo, she holds two of her own fell ponies by the reins, with Bybeck Nightingale on the right and Bybeck Katie on the left.
The new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, taken last month in the grounds of Windsor Castle, has been released by The Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the occasion.
It shows her love for the equine world, something which has been part of her life since she received her first pony aged four.
She has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years, with thoroughbreds owned by the Queen winning four out of the five flat racing classics – the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger – with only the Derby eluding her.
The portrait was released to mark the Queen’s 96th birthday (Picture: Royal Windsor Horse Show/henryda/PA)
The Queen and Prince Philip in a portrait to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2007 (Picture: Getty)
The royal family shared this photo on the Queen’s birthday last year. It shows her during a visit to the headquarters of MI5 at Thames House in London on February 25, 2020 (Picture: Getty)
This year, the Queen and her family are expected to be in the royal box at the Epsom Downs Racecourse for Derby Day as part of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, with three of her horses in contention to be picked.
The Queen’s birthday celebrations for the last two years have been muted due to the pandemic.
Usually, her official celebration – Trooping the Colour – is held in June, but it had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
This year, it is expected to go ahead for the Jubilee.
Last year, the Queen also had to contend with her first birthday following the loss of her husband Prince Philip.
The Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9, less than a fortnight before her birthday, and two months before his own hundredth birthday.
The Palace released a photo for 2021 showing the Queen smiling, dressed in a plum hat and coat.
This year, the Queen has already received birthday wishes from Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer, and gun salutes will be fired in her honour tomorrow.
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