She may be used to handing out honours but on Wednesday The Queen was presented with one herself – the FEI Lifetime Achievement award. Her Majesty looked thrilled to receive the prestigious accolade, and the first of its kind, for her lifetime dedication to equestrianism.
Hailed as "a true horsewoman" who has an "extraordinary bond" with her horses, The Queen was given the award by FEI President Princess Haya at a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The monarch's husband Prince Philip, who was once president of the FEI, looked proudly on as his wife received her tribute.
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Princess Haya presents The Queen with her lifetime achievement award at Buckingham Palace
The Queen, who still rides, beamed as she was handed her award – a stunning white gold and diamond brooch of nine interlinked horseshoes, which had been especially created for her.
Speaking after the ceremony Princess Haya said: "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is a life-long lover of horses who has inspired millions around the world.
"She is a true horsewoman, who still rides whenever state business allows, and her knowledge of breeding and bloodlines is incredible. The bond between The Queen and horses is truly extraordinary and I can't think of anyone more fitting to receive this very special FEI award."
The Queen and Prince Philip inspect her award – a white gold and diamond brooch of interlinked horseshoes
Keith Taylor, chairman of the British Equestrian Federation, reinforced how great a part horses have played in The Queen's life. Her Majesty, 88, had her first riding lesson at the age of three and was given her first pony, the Shetland mare Peggy, by her grandfather King George V on her fourth birthday.
Keith, who said it was "impossible to think of the royal family without thinking of horses," went on to name The Queen's various patronages including the British Horse Society, the Fell Pony Society and the Highland Pony Society.
The Queen, who still rides, first learnt how to ride when she was just three years old
Her Majesty's granddaughter, professional equestrian Zara Tindall, shares a love for horses and won silver at the London 2012 Olympics, while the Duke of Edinburgh played polo until 1970 and then took up carriage driving the following year.
Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry all play polo.
The Queen pats her Gold Cup winning horse Estimate at Ascot, as Princess Anne fondly looks on
In a BBC documentary The Queen: A Passion For Horses released last year, Her Majesty's cousin Margaret Rhodes poignantly said: "When she became Queen, she had to sacrifice an awful lot of emotions and thoughts of the future, but with horses it's another world in that it reduces you to just the person in relation to the animal, and you're not a Queen, you're just a human being."