Queen’s funeral: Prince George and Princess Charlotte arrive
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Queen Elizabeth II’s well-documented love of horses played a central role throughout her life. She was an avid rider, watcher and better, and was often seen looking her happiest while in the Royal Box at equestrian events. Following her death in September 2022, the Jockey Club, which owns some of the biggest racecourses in the country, including Cheltenham and Aintree, honoured Her Majesty’s passion for equestrian pursuits, describing her “passion for and contribution to the industry was unmatched”. The organisation was not alone in paying homage to the late monarch’s love of horses. In fact, a particularly sweet tribute came from somewhere closer to home.
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On Monday, September 19, the Royal Family gathered at Westminster Abbey for the funeral of the late Queen.
Princess Charlotte and her older brother Prince George were among the 2,000-strong congregation.
The seven-year-old Princess attended the funeral wearing a diamond brooch in the shape of a horseshoe, an undoubted nod to her late great-grandmother.
Significantly, it marked the first time the youngster had been seen wearing a piece of jewellery in public.
Charlotte was reportedly gifted the brooch by the Queen, whom she and her siblings affectionately called ‘Gan Gan’ before she died.
The brooch was pinned to the left side of her black coat dress, which had been paired with a wide-brimmed hat, the first hat she’d ever been photographed wearing.
In wearing the piece of jewellery, Charlotte paid tribute to her great-grandmother’s passion for all things equine, as well as her love of brooches.
The late Queen began horseriding at the age of three, having been given a Shetland pony by her parents, and has passed down the hobby through several generations of the Royal Family.
Both Princess Anne and her daughter Zara Tindall competed professionally, the latter winning a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012.
King Charles III, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward have all been known to ride horses on the grounds of the royal residences, while Prince William and Prince Harry have proven themselves as skilled polo players.
Now, the youngest generation of royals is said to be taking on the sport, with horse riding becoming a favourite pastime for the Prince and Princess of Wales’s children.
Charlotte, George, nine, and their younger brother Prince Louis, four, have all reportedly tried their hand at their great-grandmother’s beloved sport.
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Back in December 2015, an insider told the Daily Mail: “William and Kate were keen to get George on a horse once he was walking confidently.
“George loved his first ride–he was led around a paddock on a rein and shrieked with delight. William and Kate were both there to watch.”
Since then, Charlotte has taken up the hobby. In October 2016, when the Princess was just 17 months old, Kate, Princess of Wales, revealed her daughter’s love of horses.
At an event honouring Olympians and Paralympians at Buckingham Palace, Princess Kate told Natasha Baker, a decorated Paralympic Equestrian, that Charlotte is already enjoying riding.
“I asked her how the children were, and she said Charlotte is really enjoying her riding which is great to hear,” Natasha told the Daily Mirror. “She emphasised that Charlotte has this passion for horses and although she doesn’t echo it, she’ll do her best to champion and encourage it.”
Last year, the publication reported that the three Wales children had become “avid riders” and are all trotting about on their very first ponies.
The three royals began to hone their riding skills at their Amner Hall, Prince William and Kate’s, Norfolk home during the coronavirus lockdown.
William was said to be “thrilled” that his children were taking on the hobby he became fond of as a child.
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