Keeping up with the British Royal Family is rather a hobby of mine. I follow them on Facebook, read biographies and history books, and watch every PBS special I can find about their thoroughly interesting family tree.
Over the years, I’ve accumulated quite the mental store of important and random trivia facts. For example: Did you know that Queen Elizabeth loves horses? Furthermore, did you know that her horses are trained using the art of horse whispering?
Indeed, in the 1980’s the Queen was one of the first to employ renowned American “horse whisperer” Monty Roberts, famous for his gentle Join-Up method for training racehorses. In fact, it was at the Queen’s suggestion that Roberts penned a book about his unique ideas, The Man Who Listens to Horses, which went on to sell over five million copies worldwide.
In addition to employing horse whisperers, Queen Elizabeth herself is also quite skilled in the art. Back in 1981, while riding her favorite mare Burmese in the Trooping of the Colour–a ceremony that marks the reigning monarch’s official birthday–someone fired six blank shots at the Queen, spooking poor Burmese who then attempted to bolt. Despite sitting side-saddle, the Queen was able to calm Burmese, regaining control of her mount in a few strides of canter. A most impressive feat!
Below are 16 photographs documenting Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Love of Horses!
Little Elizabeth, age four, astride her first Shetland pony. Image Source: The Royal Collection via Telegraph.co.uk.
Queen Elizabeth had her first riding lesson at age three and was given her first horse, a Shetland pony named Peggy, by her grandfather King George V on her fourth birthday. Isn’t she just darling?!
An enraptured young Elizabeth attending The Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1935—before her father was King—with her mother then the Duchess of York. Image Source: Popperfoto / Getty Images.
Princess Elizabeth proudly wearing her proper riding attire on her 13th birthday in April, 1939. Image Source: Getty Images.
At the age of 12, her Majesty confided to her riding instructor that had she not been born into the role of queen, she would “like to be a lady, living in the country with lots of horses and dogs.”
Young Princess Elizabeth, beaming a happy smile. Image Source: Found via The Horse Rider’s Journal.com. Original source unknown.
Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in 1944. Image Source: Getty Images.
18-year-old Princess Elizabeth feeds the first prize-winning equine from a trophy cup at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, 1944. Image Source: Lisa Sheridan Studio / Lisa Hulton / Archive Getty Images.
Just a few months after the passing of her father, King George VI, the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II finds comfort at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, 1952. Image Source: Reg Speller / FOX Photos / Getty Images.
The Queen selects a pony from a meadow at Balmoral with her daughter, Princess Anne, 1955. Image Source: © Ph. Archives. DR
Riding side-saddle, Queen Elizabeth returns to Buckingham Palace, London, after attending the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade. Image Source: DailyMail.co.uk.
Queen Elizabeth heads into The Royal Windsor Horse Show with her niece, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, 1974. Image Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images.
Looking quite the fashionista in her tweed jacket and silk scarf, the Queen lovingly admires a steed at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, late 1970s. Image Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images.
The Queen taking the salute as the Scots Guards marched past Buckingham Palace after the Trooping the Colour. She’s mounted on her favorite horse, a black mare named Burmese, presented to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Image Source: PA Archives / Press Association Images.
The Queen’s devotion to her favorite horse, Burmese, was so strong that when Burmese retired to a life of leisure in Windsor Castle Park in 1986, the Queen switched to riding in a carriage during the Trooping the Colour ceremony.
The Queen joyfully attending the 1980 Royal Windsor Horse Show. Image Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images.
Queen Elizabeth II hands out prizes to riders at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, 1991. Image Source: Tim Graham / Getty Images.
Queen Elizabeth happily braves the rain while presenting rosettes to the Services Team Jumping contestants at The Royal Windsor Horse Show. Image Source: PA Archives / Press Association Images.
Queen Elizabeth pictured on her home bred horse, Tinkerbell, alongside daughter Princess Anne and Olympic champion granddaughter Zara Phillips, 2004. Image Source: Anwar Hussein Collection.
Which photograph of the Queen was your favorite? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below. And for the horse-lovers among us, you can now pre-order my latest novella, THE BEST MAN IN BROOKSIDE, which features a Victorian horse whisperer named Miss Sophia Heyer!
Pop over to my Books page for more information about my novella and The California Gold Rush Romance Collection.