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Horse-owning Queen indulges equestrian passion on historic Ireland trip

May 19, 2011
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It certainly wouldn't grab as many headlines as the other parts of her historic Ireland trip. But the smile on her face said it all – the Queen was thrilled to be visiting the Irish National Stud in Kildare.There was a huge round of applause as the monarch arrived at the thoroughbred horse breeding facility.


She had chosen a cornflower blue jacket and white hat to take part in the most relaxed part of her itinerary – and probably her favourite. A keen horsewoman, the sovereign has 20 horses in training each year, and takes a keen interest in their progress. She also is known to enjoy a flutter. Her husband shares her passion. It was thought the royal couple would split up and conduct separate engagements on Thursday, but it seems Prince Philip couldn't miss the opportunity to visit the Stud. Having never set foot in Ireland, the monarch was determined not to let the visit end without dropping by. Arriving precisiely on time, and clearly not wanting to rush through the visit – the Queen's delight was obvious as she chatted to members of the stud and inspected some of their champion steeds as she toured the facility.

She is to take time out of her schedule for two private visits related to her passion for equestrian pursuits. On Thursday afternoon she went to Gilltown Stud near Kilcullen, Co Kildare, which is owned by the Aga Khan. She will follow this up with a trip to the Coolmore stud in Tipperary on Friday. Thursday evening will be rounded off by an evening of entertainment at Dublin's Convention Centre. The monarch will join President Mary McAleese and some 2,000 guests for an evening of fashion, music and theatre. X Factor contestant Mary Byrne and Westlife are due to perform.

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