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21st Apr 2022

Queen channels Kim Jong-un for Lord of the Rings-style 96th birthday snap

Steve Hopkins

Majestic pictures of Her Majesty released to mark her 96th birthday

Grasping ropes attached to the headstalls of two majestic, white, fell ponies, the Queen, dressed in a forest-green Lord of the Rings-style cloak, looks every bit as regal as her 96-years suggest, in a new picture released to mark the occasion of her birthday, Thursday.

Her Majesty also looks a bit like another leader who set social media aflutter when pictures were released of him galloping up a sacred mountainside on his trusty white steed.

In October 2019, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un was seen taming the first snows of winter as he pranced along the hinterlands, then gallantly climbed the country’s highest mountain, the 2,744m-high Mount Paektu, his face beaming with the unbridled sense of freedom only a supreme leader who denies his people theirs, can truly appreciate, from the vantage point of the saddle.

Putin is also known for pictures of him on horseback, but he favours a more ubiquitous-coloured ride and a bare-chest over a cloak, so he has no place in this story about white horses.

Back to the Queen.

On her left in the birthday snap, is the pony, Bybeck Nightingale.

Bybeck Katie is to the right.

The Queen loves everyone equine, a passion she shared with her mother, and has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years. The newly-released image was taken as the build-up begins for next month’s Royal Windsor Horse Show, which commissioned the image,

Both ponies will feature in the show’s ‘A Gallop through History’, an equestrian display showcasing horses from across the globe to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

It has been billed as a “personal tribute to our monarchy” and will feature more than 500 horses and more than a thousand performers taking the audience on a journey from Elizabeth I to the Queen, the Evening Standard reports.

The Queen has reportedly travelled from Windsor to her Sandringham estate to stay at a property loved by her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, for her b’day and has already received well wishes from the PM and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who said she was  “an inspiration to so many across the UK, the Commonwealth, and the world”. Gun salutes are to be fired in her honour later Thursday.


The new pic of the Queen was taken in March in the grounds of Windsor Castle by Henry Dallal, who was commissioned to take an official portrait of her to mark her 90th birthday.

The Queen made sporting history when she became the first reigning monarch to win Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup, with her thoroughbred Estimate in 2013.

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