The Queen will be marking her 96th birthday on Thursday and ahead of the big day, a stunning new portrait of the royal has been released
Holding the reins of two of her beloved Fell ponies, the Queen is seen enjoying the Spring sunshine in a wonderful new photograph shared to mark her 96th birthday.
SEE: The Queen arrives in Sandringham ahead of 96th birthday celebration
Her Majesty was pictured in the grounds of Windsor Castle last month alongside her home-bred ponies Bybeck Nightingale, on her left, and Bybeck Katie, on her right, in a photograph by Henry Dallal, commissioned by the Royal Windsor Horse Show. Both horses will appear in the Show's spectacular Platinum Jubilee Celebration: A Gallop Through History next month, with members of the royal family tipped to appear on horseback during the evening performances.
WATCH: Find out how the Queen usually marks her birthday
The monarch, who was flown by helicopter to Sandringham where she is marking her milestone in private, is staying at Wood Farm, the modest cottage which the Duke of Edinburgh made his retirement base in his final years.
MORE: The Queen's poignant 96th birthday plans include a nod to the late Prince Philip
READ: The Queen's special Easter with Princess Beatrice and baby Sienna revealed
The royal couple spent many happy weekends there together over the years and the Queen will no doubt spend time reflecting on treasured memories.
But the Farm is also close to the Sandringham Stud, where she can indulge her passion for horses ahead of the Show, which takes place from May 12-15. A Gallop through History will showcase more than 500 horses from across the globe with more than 1,000 performers taking the audience on a journey from Elizabeth to the Queen.
A new portrait of Her Majesty was released ahead of her birthday
The Queen also has another equestrian treat to look forward to as the Jockey Club prepares a special tribute to her remarkable contribution to horseracing at this year’s Cazoo Derby.
MORE: Prince Harry reveals what it felt like to see the Queen after a year apart
INSIDE: 9 astounding royal hallways that are nothing like ours
She will be greeted at Epsom Downs Racecourse on June 4 by a guard of honour of up to 40 jockeys who ride or have ridden her horses over the years.
Some of the world’s best riders, past and present, will dress in her famous purple and gold silks to line up as she arrives at the historic event on day three of the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend.
The monarch has headed to Sandringham for her birthday
They will include 79-year-old four-time Derby winner Willie Carson, who also rode The Queen’s Oaks winner Dunfermline in 1977, and John Reid, who won The Derby in 1992. Current riders joining the line-up will include Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore, both of whom have won The Derby twice, and another of The Queen’s regular jockeys, Hayley Turner.
READ: The Queen's aide shares 'stress' of cutting the monarch's hair in lockdown
MORE: The Queen took part in special surprise for her staff during lockdown
While the monarch’s attendance will only be confirmed on the day, Hello! understands she is very keen to attend and with three of her horses currently entered for the Derby itself, she will be hoping for her first-ever winner of the world’s most prestigious flat race.
She has missed the Derby on only four occasions during her 70-year reign, with two of those absences due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Queen’s Stand at Epsom Downs Racecourse will also be permanently renamed The Queen Elizabeth II Stand in her honour.
Like this story? Sign up to our special Queen’s Platinum Jubilee newsletter to get latest news, photos and videos related to Her Majesty's special milestone.