With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and the funeral service held for her on Monday, the world has watched as her loved ones honored her memory as a dutiful monarch as well as a beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and more.
Seven-year-old Princess Charlotte, great-granddaughter of the monarch and daughter of Prince William and Princess Katherine of Wales, wore a small pin to pay tribute to one of the queen’s greatest loves: horses and horse racing, the Mirror reported.
Dressed in black and walking with her brother, Prince George, and her parents behind the casket of the queen, the princess was seen wearing a small horseshoe pin on her coat.
The late queen was known for her love of horses and it has been reported that Princess Charlotte is now also learning to ride, just like her great-grandmother, whom the princess and her siblings called “‘Gan Gan,” the Mirror reported.
Long before she was queen, the young Elizabeth, had her first riding lesson age three and then was given her first pony at four, Town and Country Magazine reported.
When once asked what she would like to be when she grew up, 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth answered, “I should like to be a horse,” Life Magazine reported in 1945.
Later, she also became interested in racing.
When the princess was 16, she had her first visit to a racing stable with her father, King George VI, CNN reported.
At the time, the king was looking at two racing horses known as Big Game and Sun Chariot. The young princess was reportedly fascinated.
“She watched them do some gallops ahead of some big races that were imminent,” Julian Muscat, a racing journalist and author of “Her Majesty’s Pleasure: How Horseracing Enthrals the Queen,” told CNN in 2018.
“Afterward, she went and patted them on the head and loved the feel and the silkiness of their coats. The story goes that she didn’t wash her hands for the rest of the day,” Muscat said.
Throughout the rest of her life, the queen was involved in horse breeding and owned thoroughbred racehorses.
Queen Elizabeth had great triumphs with many of her racehorses over the years, as several won well-known British races.
One of her greatest triumphs came in 2013 when her racehorse, Estimate, won the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot, CNN reported.
But long before that, the queen also won the title of British Flat racing Champion Owner in 1954 and 1957.
Throughout the years, she had horses that won four of the five British Classic Races, CNN reported.
The queen’s love of breeding, racehorses and riding lasted throughout her life. Those who worked alongside her in these passions said it was a great honor.
Upon her death, Frankie Dettori, one of the jockeys for Queen Elizabeth, tweeted how it was the “honour of a lifetime to be asked to ride on behalf of Her Majesty.”
As a jockey, it was the honour of a lifetime to be asked to ride on behalf of Her Majesty.
As a man, it was a greater honour to have known such a remarkable person. I will be forever grateful for the time, kindness and humour Her Majesty warmly afforded me.
Thank you, ma’am. pic.twitter.com/BztTcEgio3
— Frankie Dettori (@FrankieDettori) September 9, 2022
While racing was one of her great loves, the queen was also a strong advocate for the ethical treatment and training of horses, Marty Irby, the executive director at Animal Wellness Action, wrote for NBC News.
Irby noted that in 1989 the queen became a patron of Join-Up International, which is a non-profit that promotes “gentle, effective alternatives to violence and force in both equine and human relationships.”
In memory of her work and love for horses, Irby wrote for NBC, “We will honor the queen by working harder than ever to stamp out this and other abusive practices, execute her charge and see horses set free from all this violence.”
So while it may have just been a small pin that the young Princess Charlotte wore at her “Gan Gan’s” funeral, it marked the memory of a lifelong passion and work that was an integral part of a beloved queen’s life.
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