The Queen beamed as she made another surprise appearance yesterday to receive a special gift from the President of Azerbaijan.
The monarch, 96, was presented with a rare Karabakh horse in the courtyard of Windsor Castle, a day before surprising royal watchers with a visit to Paddington Station to open the Elizabeth Line.
Holding her walking stick, the Queen waited outside the castle as representatives of the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan presented the horse as a gift from President Ilham Aliyev, after his country was invited to perform at the recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Queen, who has a lifelong love of horses, said it was a ‘very kind, very generous’ gesture. The Karabakh horse is native to Azerbaijan and is used for endurance events and races. One recently sold at auction for the equivalent of £14,000.
It comes days after she cancelled her appearance at the State Opening of Parliament due to ‘mobility issues’.
The Queen was filmed smiling as she was presented by a Karabakh horse named Glory by the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan, a gift from the country’s president
The monarch, 96, was presented with a rare Karabakh horse in the courtyard of Windsor Castle, a day before surprising royal watchers with a visit to Paddington Station to open the Elizabeth Line
The monarch, who famously loves horses, appeared happy as she was presented with the horse
Equestrians from Azerbaijan have been in Windsor taking part in the recent Windsor Royal Horse Show, which took place from May 12-15.
The four-day annual event, which is one of the Queen’s favourites, is the UK’s largest outdoor horse show, with international competitions in three different equestrian disciplines.
On the final day of the event, the horse show staged the Platinum Jubilee celebration event ‘A Gallop Through Time’, which featured Azerbaijan performers.
The lavish event, which was broadcast nationwide, featured a host of well-known faces, including actor Tom Cruise and Helen Mirren, and offered guests numerous musical and acting performances.
In addition, horses and riders took to the arena to entertain the crowd, with performers from Azerbaijan among the 1,300 taking part.
The country was represented by members of its State Border Guard Service and a dance ensemble, who donned traditional nation costumes while they performed a programme called ‘Land of Fire’.
Their performance, which was specifically conceived to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, featured Karabakh horses, like the one gifted to her Majesty.
The Queen was also gifted two sculptures of horses, made by Azerbaijani sculptor Faiq Hajiyev
Her Majesty was seen admiring the two sculptures, which were part of a horsey gift, given to her by the President of Azerbaijan
Today the Queen was shown how to top up an Oyster card today during a surprise visit to Paddington Station to officially open the Elizabeth line with Prince Edward.
The 96-year-old, who now rarely carries out public engagements outside of her royal residences and was using a walking cane, picked up a limited edition Elizabeth line Oyster card. It had already been topped up with five pounds for the Queen, who famously rarely carries cash.
A Crossrail worker showed how the ticket machine worked before the monarch asked where passengers could travel to.
Dressed in sunshine yellow, the Queen arrived at Paddington at 11.32am, stepping carefully from the transparent lift while holding a walking stick and smiling warmly.
Her Majesty made a surprise public appearance this morning, visiting Paddington Station to officially open the Elizabeth line
Organisers of the Elizabeth line opening event had been told her Majesty may appear, but it was unconfirmed, due to her ongoing mobility issues
Unveiling a plaque stating that she had ‘officially opened’ the Elizabeth line, the monarch spent 10 minutes in the station before leaving in a lift, escorted by her son Edward. The earl then returned to the concourse ahead of a return journey on the railway from Paddington to Tottenham Court Road.
Her attendance was not publicly announced in advance, with the head of state facing ongoing mobility problems, but organisers were told there was a possibility she might be able to attend.
But in a major clue an hour and a quarter before Edward was due to arrive, Transport for London removed a plaque saying he had opened Crossrail and replaced it with one eight inches lower bearing the Queen’s name.
The Queen’s outfit was a Stewart Parvin double-wool crepe coat with an A-line silk dress in shades of yellow, royal blue and turquoise, and a matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan. She was wearing her Singapore brooch.