King Charles attends Royal Windsor Horse Show, following in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth

In 2022 the late Queen attended her last ever Royal Windsor Horse Show – an event she had been to every year without fail since it started in 1943, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

If you remember the Platinum Jubilee of the late Queen, you’ll recall that there were a number of major public events to mark her historic milestone as Monarch.

But, given her increasing frailty at the time, there was only one event Queen Elizabeth was able to attend for the entire duration – the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

And it is this same event that King Charles was able to attend on Friday evening following his doctors giving him the green light to return to public duties.

Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Windsor, in 2022. Credit: PA

Her horses are now his horses of course - so the King has a very personal reason to be here.

And it’s also an event very much in his backyard, in the private grounds of the Windsor Estate, just a few steps from the Castle.

When I think back to this same moment in 2022, we had no idea if Queen Elizabeth would be able to attend.

In fact, even the event director and the TV programme broadcasting the show did not know for sure.

Queen Elizabeth II with her children, the then-Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1956. Credit: PA

So we sat in the stands and waited to see if she’d be well enough to attend.

Queen Elizabeth did arrive in the showground and I remember very well how the crowds responded – full of admiration and respect for their long-serving Queen.

We did not know it at the time, but this would be the only event of her Platinum Jubilee that she made in full.

Later that year, in June, she had to cancel her attendance at St Paul’s Cathedral, the concert at Buckingham Palace and the Epsom Derby.

This is the Royal Rota - our weekly podcast about the royal family, with ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship and Producer Lizzie Robinson

She would only be able to make it to the Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the bank holiday weekend.

In 2022 the late Queen would also attend her last ever Royal Windsor Horse Show – an event she had been to every year without fail since it started in 1943.

They had installed a lift for her so that she could make it to the Royal Box. She was unable to climb the stairs.

Queen Elizabeth II departs following the A Gallop Through History Platinum Jubilee celebration at the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Credit: PA

And even though we were told she would only be there for a short time and she would likely leave early, she didn’t.

She stayed for the whole evening, and drove around the parade ground at the end of the night to thank the crowds for their support.

Later that summer, Queen Elizabeth relocated to Balmoral Castle where she died on September 8.

So to have the Sovereign’s flag fly once again above the showground this year was a proud moment for the director, Simon Brooks-Ward.

He recalled to ITV News how he was waiting for the signal in 2022 that the Queen wanted to leave – but, as he said: “the handbag was never picked up and the Queen seemed to be enjoying herself”.

When the crowd reacted to her arrival that evening, Mr Brooks-Ward said: “the hairs on the back of my neck went up and I felt a little sting in the eyes, I have to confess!”

On Friday, the King received a warm hug at the show from his niece, Zara Tindall, as he caught up with close family he has not seen properly during his cancer treatment.

The King hugs his niece Zara Tindall at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Berkshire Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

And he was also joined in the Royal Box by his brother and sister-in-law, Edward and Sophie, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

It’s a welcome sign that the King’s treatment is going well, although royal sources caution that there are always ups and downs for patients undergoing procedures to combat cancer.

The next big events awaiting the doctors’ approval are the D-Day commemorations in Britain and France and Trooping the Colour, the King’s official birthday parade – both in June.

But for now, at least, King Charles can attend an event with members of the public which his mother loved so much.

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