The royal family gathered on the grounds of Windsor Castle this evening to toast the Queen, who turned 90 on April 21st.
Tonight’s celebration was particularly special, as it marked the end of the Queen’s favorite occasion – the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
A lover of horses since she was young, the Queen attends the show (held over the course of a few days in her backyard) dressed down in a long skirt, vest and head scarf.
This past year, one of her horses’ victories earned her a £50 Tesco card, which she was seen holding on to as she chatted with guests.
Tonight’s finale featured a pageant of equestrians and horses, but it was unique in that it celebrated Her Majesty’s milestone birthday.
Princess Anne, Zara Tindall (who turned 35 today), Lady Louise Windsor and Prince Edward were part of the festivities paying tribute to the birthday
Celebrities, including Dame Helen Mirren, Damian Lewis, Downton Abbey‘s Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Kylie Minogue and James Blunt took part in the event, which placed an emphasis on the Queen’s life and the events that shaped her professional life (World War II, ascending the throne at 25).
Her Majesty arrived at the show in an outfit designed by her personal dresser, Angela Kelly and was greeted with a kiss on both cheeks, as well as on the hand by her son, Prince Charles.
“I am delighted that we have succeeded in bringing together hundreds of members of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and other long-standing overseas friends to mark this special birthday,” Charles wrote in the event’s program.
It could not be more fitting that a quite different group which also enjoys the Queen’s unfailing interest and support – horses, of myriad breeds and colour – will join the 600, sailors, soldiers, airmen and women who make up this evening’s celebration.”
She looked elated watching the festivities with the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael, the King of Bahrain, Lady Sarah Chatto and her sons.
While the rest of the family covered their ears during the gun and cannon salutes, Her Majesty sat there and watched, unflinching. Like a boss.
To be fair, Philip is closer to 95 than he is 94, so he gets a pass. The rest of you, buck up! This sound is second only to the National Anthem for England.
This is the Duchess of Cambridge’s first Royal Windsor Horse Show, and for the occasion she wore a red Zara coat over a cotton-blend white lace dress by Dolce & Gabbana.
Catherine emphasized her up do with chandelier earrings, which are believed to be on loan from the Queen (and a pair she’s worn in the past – specifically to a 2011 BAFTA gala in LA, and again at the Chinese State Dinner in October 2015).
William, Catherine and Harry were spread out across the front row of the royal box, presumably to encourage cameras to photograph the presence of more minor royals and guests, including Prince Donatus, the Landgrave of Hesse, and his wife, the Landgravine.
According to the Daily Mail, Donatus is a great-great-great grandson of Queen Victoria (to which I say, “who isn’t!”).
The next major events celebrating the Queen’s birthday takes place from June 10th-12th, with the Trooping of the Colour being held on June 12th (hopefully both Prince George and Princess Charlotte will make a balcony appearance this year).
The Trooping of the Colour is recognized as the monarch’s official birthday, regardless of the actual date on which his or her actual birthday falls.