This morning, The Queen pressed the button to give over 40,000 runners the go-ahead to start the annual London Marathon, on what would turn out to be the hottest marathon on record.
Standing in front of the round tower at the castle, Her Majesty smiled as she pressed the starting button and the runners passed under the starting banner from the beginning of the course in Greenwich. This came just hours after she celebrated her 92nd birthday with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in central London.
Sir John Spurling, Chairman of London Marathon Events Ltd, said: “We are deeply honoured that Her Majesty The Queen has accepted the invitation to start the 2018 London Marathon.”
“Especially as this will happen 110 years after the 1908 Olympic Marathon was started at Windsor Castle by the then Princess Mary, grandmother to The Queen.”
As The Queen stood on the podium in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, where she has been since last week during the CHOGM meetings, Prince Harry was spotted mingling with the runners at the other end of the course, on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace.
Harry was photographed shaking hands with first aiders from St John’s Ambulance, meeting the winners of the wheelchair races, and preparing to hand out medals and trophies to the runners later in the day. The former army captain is patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, which funds projects that increase participation in sport, physical activity and play. The trust has awarded grants totalling more than £68 million to over 1,200 organisations.
Her Majesty reportedly watches the race each year.
In 1908, Italian athlete Dorando Pietri crossed the finish line first, and The Queen today met representatives of his former athletics club, Salati Paola Sports Club, who brought the original trophy that he won for her to see.
British athlete Mo Farrah – who was made a knight last year – eventually smashed the existing British marathon record, coming third overall behind two Kenyan athletes, on what was his first competitive London marathon.
Stills from BBC1 livestream