Queen Elizabeth Makes Rare Public Appearance to Cheer On Granddaughter at Horse Show

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Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II may have been on doctor’s orders not to attend the state opening of British parliament earlier this week, but there was little chance she would miss her favorite event of the year: the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Smiling with the window rolled down, the monarch was driven this morning, May 13, to the event—an annual competition for dressage, show jumping, carriage driving and endurance riding. The horse show takes place just outside her Windsor Castle home, and she has not missed it once in 79 years.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Due to "episodic mobility problems" recently confirmed by a Buckingham Palace spokesperson, Queen Elizabeth was driven as close to the action as possible, arriving Friday morning close to the venue’s parade ring.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Accompanied by son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, the 96-year-old used a stick to walk nine meters from her Range Rover to the arena’s stand, where she was comfortably able to watch their daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, lead the Fell Pony Society centenary parade.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

The queen wore a green top, navy coat, and a chic Hermès head scarf from her large collection. She accessorized with pearl earrings and rose-tinted oval sunglasses and wore pink lipstick. Evidently in high spirits, she could be seen looking on proudly as her 18-year-old granddaughter drove a horse-led carriage which once belonged to husband Prince Philip. The late prince was once a leading carriage driver, and Louise has been keen to follow in his steps.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

The monarch also had 14 of her own horses at the event to cheer on. Today, her highland pony Balmoral Leia won first place in a competition, and the queen looked delighted to receive a trophy for the achievement.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Today marked the first time that the queen has been seen in public since a Westminster Abbey memorial service for the Duke of Edinburgh was held in March. She is expected to make appearances during June’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which mark her 70 years on the throne, though Buckingham Palace officials will only confirm which events she can attend shortly before or on the day of each engagement.

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