Queen Elizabeth II turned on Thursday, and she celebrated with two show-stealing companions. The official royal family Instagram account posted a new portrait of the queen to celebrate her birthday. It showed her standing on the grounds of Windsor Castle with her two fell ponies – Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale.
The queen's new portrait may be one of her most enviable Instagram moments yet. It shows her between her two immaculately groomed ponies with the reigns of each in hand. She is wearing a long green overcoat in the photos, but of course, the eye is drawn to the horses' fluffy mains and hooves. The two horses raced in the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
"Ahead of The Queen's 96th Birthday tomorrow, [Royal Windsor Horse Show] have released a new photograph of Her Majesty with two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale," the post read. "Taken last month in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the photo is the fourth in a series of photos released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, following images that celebrated the Golden Jubilee, the Platinum Jubilee and Her Majesty's 90th Birthday."
The queen is an avid equestrian herself and has attended every Royal Windsor Horse Show since the tradition began in 1943. She has even used her love of horses to entertain and bond with foreign dignitaries, including President Ronald Reagan. Many of her most famous photographs include horses, and this one joines the ranks.
The queen turned 96 on Thursday, April 21 and she celebrated at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. She traveled there on Wednesday, according to a report by Entertainment Tonight, and she was photographed driving around the grounds in a simple, casual outfit. Insiders said that she went to the remote home to reflect on her late husband, Prince Philip.
"The queen will spend her 96th birthday privately at Sandringham. She will travel to Sandringham from her base at Windsor," they said. "Sandringham holds a very special place in her heart, as it is where Prince Philip spent many of the last years of his life." The insider noted that Sandringham is also where the queen's father, King George VI passed away, and she visits it in his honor as well. They said: "Every year, on February 6, the day of his death, she has returned to Sandringham. The family also has traditionally spent Christmas at Sandringham."
In the case of Prince Philip, he passed away on April 9, 2021 – just over a year ago and shortly before the queen's birthday. The queen has since survived two hospitalizations including one for COVID-19. However, her most recent public appearances make it clear that she is doing well.