Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Prince Philip tribute: The sweet way Queen and Duke may bond today

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Prince Philip, 99, and Queen Elizabeth II, 94, have spent more time together than they have in years during lockdown. Since the Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement from public life in 2017 he has been mostly based at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate, while the Queen has remained at Buckingham Palace. However, Philip was helicoptered down from Norfolk to join the Queen at Windsor Castle in March and the couple have been there ever since.

While the Queen has been unable to attend public engagements during the pandemic she has kept up to date with her royal duties from within Windsor Castle.

The Queen has described Philip as her “strength and stay” and while the Duke is no longer a working royal he is still her key confidant.

This week the Queen may have taken a break from duties to enjoy Royal Ascot 2020.

For the first time in her 68-year reign, she has been unable to attend the five-day event which is being held behind doors.

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The Queen is an avid racing fan and owns and breeds thoroughbred horses.

On Wednesday, there will have been huge cause for celebration at Windsor when the Queen’s horse Tactical won the Windsor Castle Stakes.

This marked her 24th win at Royal Ascot and was her first win since 2016.

While the Queen may have been glued to the television all week, Prince Philip is unlikely to have joined her as the Duke is understood not to share her keen interest in the sport.

In his biography “The Duke: A Portrait of Prince Philip”, author Tim Heald writes: “Horse racing appears to be the least of the Duke’s equine passions and although he is invariable in the carriage on the drive to races he frequently seems to be missing during the racing itself.”

He added: “It has been alleged that on such occasions he enters the royal box, he walks straight through, out the back door and into a waiting car to drive home.

“In fact, he usually goes to the back of the box and works quietly on his papers.

“His wife’s interest in the turf, is, of course legendary.”

However, on Friday the Duke may make an exception and join the Queen to watch two important races.

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The Queen’s horse Punctuation is running in the 4.10 Queen’s Vase race this afternoon and Philip may join the Queen to cheer the homebred horse on.

Bookmakers BetVictor currently have Punctuation on at 25/1 to win.

Then at 4.40pm, Prince Philip’s interest may be piqued as there’s a race being held in his honour.

The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes is a flat horse race run every year on the fourth day of the Royal Ascot meeting.

This year the race has 19 runners but the Queen does not have a runner.

Following Tactical’s win on Wednesday the Queen’s racing manager John Warren told the Guardian: “I suspect deep down there might have been a tinge of disappointment that she’s not there.

“But it was completely over-ridden by the fact that she’d actually had the winner.”

Mr Warren added: “It’s obviously a great shame that her Majesty’s not there to be able to go down and enjoy the whole buzz of her runners.

“But she’s studied every bit of it today, watching the races, and the last two days, she’s been able to spend a bit of time watching the most important races, so this was the icing on the cake to actually have a winner.”

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