The Derby is a firm favourite for the horse-loving monarch (Picture: PA/Getty)
The Queen looks set to miss the Epsom Derby, amid suggestions that she will ‘pace herself’ for the Platinum Jubilee long weekend.
There have been persistent rumours about the 96-year-old’s mobility and health after the monarch missed a series of key events in the royal calendar.
Now it is ‘increasingly unlikely’ that she will attend Epsom, according to the Sunday Times, which added that her daughter Anne, the Princess Royal, is likely to go instead.
That is despite Saturday’s Derby being a personal highlight for the Queen during the four days of Jubilee festivities next week.
Herself a passionate horse owner and breeder, the head of state was due to be greeted on the course with a special guard of honour including up to 40 of her past and present jockeys.
Buckingham Palace has declined to comment, saying the Queen’s attendance at events would not be confirmed until closer to the time.
The nation’s longest reigning monarch is currently on a pre-Jubilee break resting in Balmoral.
The Queen unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of nine-time Derby winning jockey, Lester Piggot – whose death was announced today – ahead of racing on the second day of the Epsom Derby in 2019 (Picture: Getty Images)
But she is expected to make a double appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony – at the start of the celebrations after Trooping the Colour on Thursday, and after the Pageant parade finale on Sunday.
The Queen is also hoping to be able attend Friday’s thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral, alongside many of the Royal Family – expected to include Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Andrew, the Duke of York.
It could be the first time Harry and Meghan have been seen alongside the rest of the Royals since Megxit and accusing an unnamed senior royal of racism during a controversial Oprah Winfrey interview.
The monarch is expected to spend time with the Sussexes over the jubilee, when children Archie and Lilibet are expected to meet their great-grandmother in person for the first time. The younger sibling celebrates her first birthday on Saturday.
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That evening, the BBC’s Party At The Palace concert is expected to be attended by both Charles, the Prince of Wales, and William the Duke of Cambridge, who are both expected to pay public tributes to the Queen outside Buckingham Palace.
The monarch is set to watch the event on television from Windsor Castle.
On Sunday, thousands of people will gather across the country as more than 85,000 Big Jubilee Lunches and street parties are staged in celebration of the record-breaking 70 year reign.
In a personal message ahead of the celebrations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the monarch’s leadership, wisdom and lifelong service.
‘With the first Platinum Jubilee ever, no monarch has ever served the country so long and, more importantly, no monarch has ever served it so well,’ Mr Johnson said.
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