The Princess Royal steps in for The Queen at Epsom Derby

The Princess Royal Sir Tim Lawrence led members of the Royal Family for a day at the races by attending the Epsom Derby yesterday.

The Queen pulled out of attending the horse race – a staple in the racing calendar – but watched it on TV from Windsor, according to Buckingham Palace. She had been sent a souvenir race card.

Princess Anne attends Epsom Day. (Royal Family)

It comes after she missed the Service of Thanksgiving to mark her Platinum Jubilee but did make an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after Trooping the Colour.

Princess Anne was joined by her daughter and son-in-law, Zara and Mike Tindall and her son, Peter Phillips and his new girlfriend Lindsay Wallace. Peter and Autumn married in 2005, but divorced in 2020.

Princess Alexandra was also in attendance.

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As members of the Royal Family arrived, they were greeted by 40 royal jockeys wearing The Queen’s royal purple and gold racing colours.

As Anne greeted the Jockeys, she could be heard saying: “You had to stand here waiting for us — I’m sorry to interrupt. Good luck!”

Speaking to ITV,  Zara spoke of the Jubilee weekend, noting how ‘there’s so much going on in the world at the moment that’s not positive, and this is a great weekend to be positive and just enjoy everyone together.’

She continued to say how ‘everyone has had such a tricky time over the last two years, so actually to have everyone together and to be able to do these occasions together and celebrate an amazing lady has been amazing. And this is my first time here [Epsom], so I’m really excited to be here.’

Mike said of the Monarch: “She would be definitely be watching. She is way more knowledgeable than probably most of us here and absolutely loves her horses. It is a passion of her life and she will know exactly what’s going on. And she’s got runners all over today, so she’s busy.”

During the day, Princess Anne was gifted a new painting for her mother from Epsom Downs Racecourse. Presented by Racecourse Chair Julia Budd, the painting is of Dunfermline, The Queen’s winner of The Oaks in 1977, painted by Jeremy Houghton.

The painting will be exhibited this month in Chipping Campden, near Princess Anne’s Gatcombe home, and the exhibition will be supporting three different charities – Retraining of Racehorses, World Horse Welfare, and the British Racing School.

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Her Majesty has only missed Derby Day twice. She first visited the racing event, just four days after her Coronation in 1953, where she watched her horse, Aureole, finish second.

The Queen had initially entered three runners in this year’s race but her hopes of having a winner ended earlier in the week, as her only runner was pulled out of a race.

Her Majesty is a lover of horses, something she has passed on to her only daughter, an accomplished equestrienne, who has competed in the Olympics. To mark her 96th birthday, she posed for a photograph with her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale. 

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