it is a relationship based on natural instinct, understanding and respect
STORIES · 13.09.22
As we come to terms with the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, there is a deep sense of loss. She was someone who has guided and comforted us dutifully, calmly and with kindness for 70 years.
I feel sure I am not alone in mourning the Queen with a love and sadness that feel very personal, despite the fact that really, we did not know her. I have always admired the grace with which she kept her views on many public affairs private and discreet – and yet her passions and interests were enjoyed proudly and known very well, giving us a point of human connection beyond her enormous weight of responsibility.
A deep love and affection for horses is something we both share. Looking at all the photos that have been shared since her passing, so many of them capture the Queen in a moment of pure joy while in the company of animals – whether watching them at the races or riding through quiet fields at home. I can only imagine that in these moments she is at one with nature, in sync with the horses natural rhythm – and for a short while a simple countrywoman rather than a sovereign. This is something I understand, having felt that a day with horses is a happy and fulfilling one ever since I was a little girl – no matter what other thoughts may be weighing heavy on me at the time.
Throughout her life, the Queen’s natural way with horses was clear to see, as is the affection that they showed her in return. As Queen we loved her for being kind, consistent and patient – all things that these often unpredictable animals will respond to with a mutual tenderness. It is a relationship based on natural instinct, understanding and respect, with no place for status or ego.
as Queen we loved her for being kind, consistent and patient – all things that these often unpredictable animals will respond to with a mutual tenderness
I heard my friend, British racehorse trainer Nicky Henderson, say on the radio last week that ‘racing has lost its greatest patron and friend’, which I know to be true. As well as a love of the sport, she had an expansive and impressive knowledge that covered generations of breeding, specific horses, their temperaments, and subsequent patterns of behaviour. She loved chat in the yards as much as the sense of competition on the racetrack and looking back at the moment that her mare Estimate galloped to victory in the 2013 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, it is impossible not to smile too at her unrestrained sense of triumph and delight.
It is in these unguarded, joyful flashes that we see the warmth and gentle sense of humour that will be so missed. I wanted to share the following tongue-in-cheek quote from the Queen that I think sums this up quite perfectly:
‘Were it not for the Archbishop of Canterbury I should be off in my plane to Longchamp every Sunday’.
I hope she will find a way to visit quite often now. May she rest in peace.