Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch and the world’s most recognized, respected, and revered supporter of horseracing, has died at 96.
Her Majesty will be mourned across all parts of the globe, not least by those who have shared her love of racing, the sport for which she was a figurehead throughout an extraordinary reign.
The announcement of the Queen’s death came in a statement posted by Buckingham Palace at 6:30 pm local time.
It said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
The royal family issued a statement on behalf of the Queen’s eldest son and heir, now King Charles III.
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He said: “The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world. During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.”
The Queen was twice Britain’s champion flat owner, yet although those titles were claimed in 1954 and 1957, she continued to enjoy considerable success over the following decades, perhaps most famously when in the summer of 2013 Estimate carried her iconic silks to Gold Cup (G1 ) glory at Royal Ascot, the fixture more associated with her than any other.
BHA chair Joe Saumarez Smith said: “The BHA extends our heartfelt condolences to the royal family and all those affected by this sad news.
“Racing owes an incalculable debt of gratitude, not only for Her Majesty’s dedication and commitment to the sport, but for her public advocacy of it, something that doubtless has driven the sport’s popularity and attracted a great number of fans.”
Sir Francis Brooke, chairman of Ascot and Her Majesty’s representative at what was the Queen’s own racecourse, said: “The nation mourns the loss of a much-loved and respected monarch. The world of racing has lost one of its greatest supporters. We at Ascot are privileged to have so many memories of Her Majesty the Queen on this, her racecourse, including some wonderful victories in the royal colors.
“We offer our deepest sympathies to His Majesty the King and the royal family.”
Remarkably, the Queen last year enjoyed more success on British racecourses than at any point since comprehensive record-keeping was introduced in 1988. Her colors were carried to victory in 36 races, with the £584,399 earned by her horses placing her into the top 20 of leading owners. Only four British entities finished ahead of her.
The Queen was a winning owner for the final time on Tuesday—the same day she officially appointed Liz Truss to become the 15th prime minister of her reign—when the Clive Cox-trained Love Affairs Landed a Goodwood nursery under Adam Kirby.
Her last runner came desperately close to winning, with the royal homebred Improve losing by a short head when caught in the final stride of Epsom’s concluding race on Thursday.