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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grandma, the reining monarch: Queen goes riding with Edward's children

By Daily Mail Reporter

Touching moment: The Queen looks every inch the proud grandmother alongside Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, during a ride in Windsor Great Park over Easter

Smiling broadly and looking every inch the proud grandmother, this is the Queen as few have seen her before.

The touching family snapshot shows the 85-year-old monarch belying her years as she looks relaxed on a pony ride with Lady Louise Windsor, seven, and her three-year-old brother James, Viscount Severn.

Their parents, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, have always fiercely protected their children’s privacy, particularly as Lady Louise – a bridesmaid at the royal wedding – suffers a rare eye condition which gives her a squint.

But the Queen was so taken by the picture, taken on Easter Monday amid the bluebells in Windsor Great Park, that she agreed to publish it to highlight the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which starts today.

A passionate rider since childhood, the Queen’s relaxed pose on her small black pony belies her advancing years.

Despite repeated calls by safety campaigners over the years for her to wear a helmet, she is still stubbornly sporting her famous knotted headscarf.

Her clothes are still reassuringly formal – white jodhpurs, brown riding boots and a tweed hacking jacket with gloves.

The Queen is leading casually-dressed three year-old James on a rein but Louise has clearly inherited her grandmother’s confidence and looks more than in control of her own white steed.

The children live only a short drive from Windsor and stable their ponies at the royal mews, as does their mother.

As revealed by the Mail, the Countess suffered a broken rib following a nasty fall from her own horse while riding in the Great Park just days before the royal wedding.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said last night: ‘The Queen thought it was a particularly lovely photograph and gave her permission for it to be released.’

The Royal Windsor Horse Show is the largest outdoor equestrian Show in the UK, with over 3000 horses and ponies taking part in more than 250 jumping, showing, and carriage driving classes.

The event has been running for over 65 years and takes place in Her Majesty’s private grounds at Windsor Castle.

Confident: Lady Louise Windsor was one of the bridesmaids at the Royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

Helping hand: Sophie, the Countess of Wessex and her son James, Viscount Severn, walk alongside Peter and Autumn Phillips following the Royal family's Scottish cruise last year. Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice and their father Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, follow on



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