Queen watching Epsom Derby Day in ‘comfy clothes’ at Windsor – Zara Tindall

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(David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)
(David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen will be watching Epsom Derby Day at home in “comfy clothes”, her granddaughter Zara Tindall has said.

The monarch did not attend the major sporting event on Saturday, opting to view it on television from Windsor Castle, where she has been sent a souvenir race card to follow the action.

However, the Queen was a winner elsewhere at Worcester, as the royal silks were carried to victory by 7-2 chance Steal A March, with the head of state said to be keeping an eye on racing across the country.

Zara arrived at the sold-out racecourse in Surrey alongside husband, former rugby player Mike, just before 1pm as part of a procession, which included her mother the Princess Royal and husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and brother Peter Phillips.

She said: “She will be watching on the TV – she has a few runners today dotted around the country, so she knows exactly what’s going on.

“She’ll just be sat on the sofa watching the TV. She’ll be in her comfy clothes.”

The Princess Royal (left) and Sir Timothy Laurence (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
The Princess Royal (left) and Sir Timothy Laurence (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Peter was pictured with his girlfriend, who has been named in numerous reports as Lindsay Wallace, despite it being rare for the girlfriend of a member of the royal family to attend a high-profile event.

Crowds cheered and waved union flags as they made their way in to the course, with Anne seen smiling.

She appeared in the royal box while the national anthem was played by a band.

Afterwards, Anne could be seen waving and laughing, while thanking those around her for a warm welcome.

The Princess Royal receiving a gift to the Queen from Epsom Downs Racecourse presented by Julia Budd (Megan Ridgwell on behalf of The Jockey Club/PA) (PA Media)
The Princess Royal receiving a gift to the Queen from Epsom Downs Racecourse presented by Julia Budd (Megan Ridgwell on behalf of The Jockey Club/PA) (PA Media)

The princess was later given a painting of Dunfermline, the Queen’s winner of The Oaks race in 1977, as a gift to the monarch.

Peter, Zara and Mike could be seen on the balcony of the royal box during the second race of the day, though no celebrations took place after filly Bashkirova claimed victory.

Jubilee celebrations took place in the Queen’s absence, with 40 jockeys who have ridden for the owner-breeder donning the royal racing silks and forming a guard of honour before the national anthem was sung.

Willie Carson (left) and Frankie Dettori on Derby Day (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
Willie Carson (left) and Frankie Dettori on Derby Day (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

Five of the monarch’s former racehorses were also paraded, and a selection of hats inspired by the seven decades of her reign have been displayed.

Asked about the royal procession arriving through a guard of honour of the Queen’s past and present jockeys, Zara said: “It was amazing. It was so nice to see so many faces. It was funny seeing them trying to fit back into the colours again, all the retired ones.

“Obviously, we’d love her (The Queen) to be here. But it’s nice to be here. I’ve never been to Epsom before. It’s exciting. I need to go and explore.”

(Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)
(Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Wire)

Mike added: “The Queen is such a wonderful woman and I have said this numerous times, but in terms of how you want a leader to be, she is that person and someone who sets an example.

“It’s such a shame that she’s not here with us but I know she’ll be tuned in and watching from home.”

Past and present jockeys who have ridden the Queen’s horses (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
Past and present jockeys who have ridden the Queen’s horses (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Frankie Dettori and Willie Carson, who has ridden some of the Queen’s most memorable winners, lined part of the course with the other jockeys.

Describing for BBC News the pride he has felt while riding for the Queen in her racing colours, Dettori said: “Every time you see these (colours) on your peg you (have) this sense of importance and it’s a great honour.

“Look she’s a big lover of horse racing, and like you say she’s only missed the Derby twice.

“But I’m sure today she’ll find a TV and she’s going to watch it live because she loves the Derby so much.

“She’s been breeding horses for over 60 years she knows all the blood lines and she’s won lots of races and she’s very knowledgeable.”

Carson said: “She (the Queen) is the patron of racing and she has been a great advantage to horse racing.

“Her racing is her passion and everybody who takes an interest in the royal family will understand that her hobby is her horses.”

Among the famous faces in attendance were Downton Abbey star Jim Carter and fellow actress wife Imelda Staunton, comedian Lee Mack and tennis coach Judy Murray.

Staunton, who plays the monarch in The Crown’s upcoming series, said: “I’m very honoured to be in a place that the Queen obviously loves greatly – her big passion is horses.

“I know there’s a big pop concert tonight, but I don’t think that was her passion. This is her passion, so it’s very nice to be here, somewhere that she really loves.”

The Queen strokes racehorse McFabulous (Matt Keeble/PA) (PA Archive)
The Queen strokes racehorse McFabulous (Matt Keeble/PA) (PA Archive)

It comes after the Queen’s only runner Just Fine was removed from the World Pool Northern Dancer Handicap at the 48-hour declaration stage on Thursday.

Her hopes of winning the Derby were dashed earlier in May when her horse Reach For The Moon, who was among the favourites, and two others were withdrawn.

Thoroughbreds owned by the Queen have won 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.

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