Beaming Queen arrives at Royal Windsor Horse Show amid health fears
Her Majesty looked beaming as she was seen being driven to the event to watch her horses take to the parade ring.
The 96-year-old's appearance at the show comes just days after she pulled out of attending the State Opening of Parliament due to health concerns.
Today, she sat in the front passenger seat of the vehicle, casually dressed in a white blouse and a blue cardigan-style top and wearing sunglasses.
As the Range Rover pulled up near the parade ring, the Queen spoke to a small group, thought to be officials from the show, through the open car window.
She appeared relaxed, smiling and laughing as she chatted, while just a few feet away dozens of photographers tried to capture the moment.
Inside the parade ring, horses were put through their paces as relaxing classical music was played over the public address system.
Dozens of members of the public were also keen to have a memento of the occasion, holding up camera phones to record their glimpse of the Queen.
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The monarch was last seen in public when she attended a service commemorating the life of her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, in March with senior royals and a congregation of hundreds.
The horse show officially kicked off on Thursday and it was reported that the 96-year-old was due to be driven 500 yards from her private apartments at Windsor Castle yesterday to see one of her horses compete. However, her appearance was suddenly called off.
Shortly afterwards the Queen is said to have gone to see her other horses at the Royal Mews, it has been reported by the Sun. A source said: “She simply changed her mind.”
Her Majesty was forced to pull out of the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday after suffering recurrent “episodic mobility problems” which have plagued her since last Autumn.
The Royal Windsor Horse Show also features more than 500 horses and 1,000 performers in the “'spellbinding” equestrian event A Gallop Through History. The four-night run culminates on Sunday, when it is broadcast live on ITV.
In scenes that organisers are hopeful of repeating on Sunday, Princess Beatrice, 33, smiled and waved as she was driven across the main arena in a Range Rover accompanied by her husband Edo Mapelli Mozzi, 38, during a rehearsal on Wednesday night
Sources said the plans were devised to allow the Queen to attend Sunday night's event in comfort as she can no longer stand for periods of time.
It was revealed last month that similar arrangements are in place for the Queen to ditch the royal carriage in favour of travelling to Trooping the Colour in a 4x4 car for “comfort and speed”.
The official marking of her birthday on June 2 is the start of a special bank holiday weekend of celebrations, with events planned over four days for the Platinum Jubilee.
A royal source said: “Several contingency plans are in place for Her Majesty to attend events surrounding the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in the greatest comfort possible.
“Princess Beatrice was delighted to be asked to play the role of the Queen on this occasion to make sure everything would go without a hitch should Her Majesty wish to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show in this way.”
Palace sources have described Her Majesty as having “good days and less good days” in regards to her ongoing mobility issues, which have led to her missing out or cancelling several high profile events in recent months, but she still remains “absolutely pin sharp in mind”.
The Queen is said to not want to use a wheelchair in public, although it is understood she has recently used one on occasion in private.
She recently took delivery of a £64,000 golf buggy that she uses to drive around the Windsor Castle estate to take her beloved dogs for a walk.