The Queen's 90th birthday gala was a truly remarkable event. Some 900 horses, 1,500 performers and celebrity guests staged a spectacular pageant in honour of the landmark occasion - and the best was saved until last. A parade of the Queen's own horses took to the arena, ridden by, among others, her daughter Princess Anne, the Earl of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor, together with granddaughter Zara Tindall, riding her eventing horse Toytown.Her family's participation clearly meant a great deal to the monarch, who couldn't help but smile as she watched her loved ones ride out to applause from the crowd.
The Queen was delighted by her family's participation at the pageant
The two-hour event, held in the grounds of Windsor Castle, took the Queen through the key events in her life - a reminder that she had not only reached a record-breaking reign, but has also been a first-hand witness to some of the most momentous events of the past century.
The Queen arrived with her husband Prince Philip in the Diamond Jubilee Stage coach to a huge cheer from the arena. She was dressed in a green dress with a lace overlay and matching jacket, all created by her dressmaker Angela Kelly, and wearing a turquoise diamond brooch.
Lady Louise Windsor riding with her father, Prince Edward
The couple were then seated in the royal box, where they were joined by sons Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, freshly returned from the Invictus Games in Florida.The event was hosted by Ant and Dec, and featured famous faces including Dame Helen Mirren, Damian Lewis, Imelda Staunton and Gary Barlow, while Kylie Minogue and Katherine Jenkins were among those who performed on the night.
Prince Charles greets his mother as she arrives for the birthday event
The real stars of the show, however, were the horses and their riders, who had travelled from as far as Chile, Canada, Oman and Azerbaijan to perform impressive stunts for the Queen. The Omani cavalry riders galloped through the arena stood on their horses' saddles, while the Azerbaijanis rolled underneath the horses and back again as they raced across the floor.There was also an appearance from French horse-whisperer Jean-Francois Pignon, who transfixed the crowd as he totally commanded ten bareback horses and ponies, getting them to line up, roll over, rear and circle around in response to the flicks of his wand.
The Queen was joined by other members of the royal family on the night
The evening concluded with a performance by Dame Shirley Bassey, singing Diamonds are Forever, before the arena rung out with a chorus of Happy Birthday and a cheer of God Save The Queen, ending with a resounding three cheers for Her Majesty.