One's horsing around! The Queen unveils a bronze statue and watches a jockey on a mechanical steed in Newmarket in honour of her 90th year
- The Queen visited the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing
- She met several former racing horses whom she stopped to give a treat
- Unveiled a bronze statue in honour of her 90th birthday earlier this year
Her love of horses is no secret with the Queen owning several fillies herself and it is no surprise that her engagement today bought a smile to her face.
Her Majesty looked to be in high spirits today as she visited the new National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art.
The 90-year-old royal smiled as a jockey gave a demonstration of a horse simulator - like a bucking bronco - on a tour of the racing centre in Newmarket.
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The Queen enjoyed a trip to the town of Newmarket this morning where she was greeted by plenty of young fans
The Queen, dressed in pink, first unveiled a statue of a foal and a mare at an entrance to Newmarket Racecourse as a gift in the year of her 90th birthday.
The gesture from the Suffolk town, often referred to as the headquarters of British racing, is also in celebration of the Queen's lifelong dedication to the thoroughbred horse.
Designed by two sculptors, the bronze statue of the Queen with a mare and foal was paid for by the Queen’s friend Sheikh Mohammed.
Her Majesty was treated to a demonstration of a horse simulator by jockey Pat Cosgrove during a visit to the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art
She met some former race horses during a visit to the centre including some formerly owned by her
The benevolent royal couldn't resist giving the racehorse a treat on Thursday
The Queen is well known for her love of horses and so it was no surprise that today's visit bought a smile to her face
Joining the Queen on the visit today was Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein the Sheikh's second wife who looked elegant in a tweed suit.
She was then driven to the nearby centre, where she was greeted by schoolchildren singing the National Anthem and waving Union flags.
The Queen was then shown around the grounds of the centre, where horses are kept, including two of her former racehorses, Barbers Shop and Quadrille.
Her Majesty fed a carrot to one horse before being taken into the Trainers' House where she was shown the racehorse simulator.
The Queen also unveiled a bronze statue in honour of her 90th birthday featuring herself and two horses
Designed by two sculptors, the bronze statue of the Queen with a mare and foal was paid for by the Queen’s friend Sheikh Mohammed
The statue has caused some controversy in the town as eight memorial trees were felled in order to make space for it
She asked jockey Pat Cosgrave, who was putting the machine through its paces: 'Does it feel like a horse?'
The rider replied: 'Basically, yeah.'
A colleague added: 'It's a good way of getting you fit. I've used one quite a lot when I've been off injured.'
Clearly in high spirits Her Majesty could be seen beaming for pictures as she arrived
She was gifted with a posey of delicate pink flowers which matched her elegant tweed suit
A sign explained that the simulator allowed jockeys to 'experience the thrill of a race' but that they must only ride under supervision.
And it warned: 'Do not ride the horse simulator if you are pregnant or think you might be, if you have a bad back or are of a nervous disposition.'
While the town of Newmarket, Suffolk were surely glad of a visit from the monarch this afternoon, their gift of the statue has caused some controversy among locals.
Her Majesty was greeted by schoolchildren singing the National Anthem in her honour
The young well wishers were also armed with dozens of Union Jack flags in celebration of her visit
In order for the statue to be built eight memorial trees were cleared by the town council earlier this year to make space.
Roland Peake said he turned down an invitation by the council to be at the opening ceremony after he made the discovery that they had felled a tree in memory of his late wife Margaret and his parents, Ted and Jessica Peake, to make way for the special statue.
He was given no warning and made the discovery after visiting the park with his new wife and discovering the tree was no longer there. A plaque with his wife and parents' names on had been broken and left discarded on the ground.
The Queen arrived by helicopter for her official visit to the town in Suffolk on Thursday
Her Majesty took time to look in the gift shop during a visit to the National Heritage Centre
'My wife died 14 years ago and I decided to plant a tree in her memory, which we have watched grow over the years,' said Mr Peake.
'One Sunday we went to visit the tree to plant some daffodil bulbs and saw that it had been cut down to a small stump and the plaque cast aside on the ground.
'I was shocked and stunned and incredibly upset as no one had bothered to inform us. It really hurt that something that had been growing to remember my wife and parents had simply been cut down.
As the day went on the lucky Queen was gifted with more and more flowers by her well wishers
Joining the Queen on the visit today was Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein the Sheikh's second wife who looked elegant in a tweed suit
'There were plenty of other places in the park where the statue could have been built. I think it's disgusting that no one spoke to us about the plans and it still really hurts.'
Mr Peake said he had phoned Newmarket Town Council to complain about the tree being felled and Councillor Andy Drummond, the mayor, had now personally agreed to pay for a new tree.
Councillor Andy Drummond, Mayor of Newmarket, said: 'I wasn't on the town council when the situation happened. I can only apologise. I have done all I can to try and rectify the situation.'
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