Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Queen's day out at the Derby

Queen Elizabeth II with her son the Earl of Wessex (right) during Derby Day Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Queen has started her Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a familiar outing at the races today. The event is one of the highlights of the racing calender and is rarely missed by the Queen who joined 130,000 enthusiastic racegoers for the great social occasion.

They gave the monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh a huge cheers as they were driven down the course past the stands and the hospitality tents.

The royal couple were joined by a large party, which included the Duke of York and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and the monarch's racing manager John Warren.

Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and the Duke of Edinburgh, during the second day of the Epsom Derby horse racing festival Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

While the Duchess of Cambridge did not attend the event, her parents Carole and Michael Middleton joined the royals with their horse which ran in a race. Unlike in last year's race, the Queen did not have a horse entered in the Derby, or the six featured races.

The Queen has had 10 runners in the Derby since 1953, the latest in 2011, when Carlton House finished 3rd.

The closest she has come to winning the race (in terms of placing) was in 1953 - the year of her Coronation - when Aureole finished second to Pinza.

Anthony Cane, Epsom Downs Racecourse chairman, said:

At the end of the day, her love is to come here. You have to remember, she comes here in a normal year in a private capacity not on an official visit. But she comes because she loves it, and this time it's her one trip to Surrey in the Diamond Jubilee.

[The Queen] is incredibly knowledgeable. Her knowledge of thoroughbreds and breeding goes way back. She's absolutely amazing."

ITV News' Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart reported that the Queen was mixing 'business with pleasure' by attending the Derby.

The Queen was attired in a white silk dress with blue floral print, and a royal blue crepe wool coat by Stewart Parvin and matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan.

Carrying a Derby Day programme, she stood beside the Duke who wore a morning suit and top hat and carried a umbrella.

Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of Edinburgh in the parade ring during the second day of the Epsom Derby horse racing festival Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Epsom Derby had a 'carnival' atmosphere with stiltwalkers dressed as guardsmen, as well as a funfair and amusements for ordinary punters.

Speaking before the Derby, Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins told ITV news it was "such a huge honour" to sing the national anthem in front of the Queen.

Grey skies may have threatened rain but it did not stop a spectacular parachute fall by the Red Devils, the British Army display team, staged just before the Queen arrived and left the crowd gasping.

The men from the Parachute Regiment made pin-point landings close to the finishing line and one soldier even carried a huge Union flag.

A host of famous names also joined the racegoers including Donna Air, Mischa Barton, Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson, while London 2012 was recognised with the Great Britain's women's hockey team present.

Before the sun broke through the clouds, the Queen made her way to the parade ring to watch the horses in the Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup- renamed in her honour.

Hot favourite Camelot, ridden by 19-year-old Joseph O'Brien, won the 2012 Investec Derby at Epsom as the Queen looked on.

More on this story