A rare North East horse breed which faced extinction in the 1960s was saved from dying out by Her Majesty the Queen.
A renowned horse lover, the Queen played a key role in saving the Cleveland Bay.
Named after the hills from which they originate, the Cleveland Bay came close to dying out in the 1960s when only four stallions remained.
They were owned by Staithes horse breeder George W Duell.
One of the stallions was spotted by the Queen, who purchased it and took it to Windsor.
His grandson Gerard Welford said: “At the time grandad was very patriotic and the Queen had to have it when she was interested.
“She actually purchased the horse. It was sold to them and went down to Windsor and that was it.”
Video report by Rachel Bullock
The horse was called Mulgrave Supreme, and it was from him this breed began to populate.
Mr Welford said: “She used him for her own breeding to get her stock built up and get some bloodlines.
“After so many years she put him out in public stud so other people could use him."
Mr Duell, who died when Mr Welford was six, was president of the Cleveland Bay Society.
Mr Welford added: “There were only a handful of people that were involved with it who could keep the society going. There's a lot more people today.”
Paul Stacey is one of the society's members and breeds Cleveland Bays at his farm at Middleton St George, near Darlington.
He used them for carriage racing, a popular sport with the royals.
The Queen was once in the audience at an event Mr Stacey competed in.
He said: “When people come, I tell them the Queen keeps them.
"They've got a good temperament. They're easy to deal with, they're good carriage horses, they make good hunters with good stamina.”
Mr Stacey’s horses are in demand across the country and his most recent sale was to a farmer in Dorset.
One of his foals Bruno, also known as Thickley Prince Theodore, is four months old and is one of just 30 Cleveland Bay foals to be born in the country so far this year.
Mr Stacey hopes that the breed’s royal connection will continue.
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