MARIA PUENTE, writing for USA Today reports:
It’s time for Britons to shout “God save the horsewoman-in-chief!”
Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, marking her 60 years on the throne, kick off today at Windsor Castle with an equestrian extravaganza featuring hundreds of Her Majesty’s favorite animal.
The thumping-big Jubilee events, including a flotilla of 1,000 ships floating down the Thames, are still weeks away, in the first weekend of June. But for the next four days, Brits will pay homage to their monarch and to the majestic horse.
“They’re part of our makeup, part of our history and culture, and they have served us so well for so very, very long,” says Annemarie Westwood, senior executive at the British Horse Society, which looks after the well-being of Britain’s horses.
The queen raises, breeds, races and, at 86, still rides horses. Next to her clutch of Welsh corgi dogs, no other creature is more associated with her.
“Her Majesty has always loved horses — she literally talks to her horses, she knows the names of all her horses,” Westwood says.
“They are obviously her great love. She is very relaxed and happy around them.”
The pageant will showcase 550 horses and 1,000 human performers, including Mounties from Canada, Cossacks from Russia and cowboys and Indians (Lakota Sioux) from the USA.