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Queen of all our sports: Stars unite to share their fondest memories of Her Majesty The Queen

During her 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, her duties saw her interacting with some of Britain’s greatest sporting heroes, presenting them with either trophies or royal honours.

As we reflect on Her Majesty The Queen’s death and funeral, which will take place in London on Monday, some of these sports stars have shared their stories of interacting with her over her 96 years.

In addition to her well-publicized love of horse racing, there are tales of the Olympics, cricket, tennis, rugby and football.


How The Monarch used a statue to stun Trump

John Gosden, who received an OBE in 2017 and has coached numerous winners in the royal colors, is fond of telling of a visit from the Queen.

“I remember very well that three years ago we introduced her to all our horses and then she said she would like to see Enable,” said Gosden.

“Frankie Dettori was here and decided to be master of ceremonies. So Enable walked around and Frankie looked at the filly and said, “You may think you’re the queen, but this is the real queen!”

“The Queen had a great eye for horses, she would love to see all the foals and yearlings and she was passionate about the breed. It was her joy and relaxation. The coaches called at 10am and you got your seat to talk to the queen about your runners.

“They were always wonderful conversations because you talked about the horse and the race and then you talked about other things. We were very privileged.”

Gosden also revealed how a gift for the Queen featured during a celebrity visit from the US President.

“We have put up a statue of the Queen standing at the top of Newmarket with a mare and foal and models (scale models) of the statue have been made and one presented to the Queen here in the house.

“She immediately said, ‘I know where this is going,’ and a few days later there was a state visit from President Trump.

Of course, Trump liked to stand quite a distance in front of everyone and there in the Rotunda Room of Buckingham Palace is Trump, but even his belly couldn’t block the size of this model of the Queen and the mare and foal sitting on the round table. ‘

Ian Balding, who like Gosden was the Queen’s long-time coach, recalls when misinformation earned him a quick response from racing’s most famous ambassador.

He said: “I can remember writing to her once when I read that she had given up riding and I knew how upset she would be. So I wrote and said, ‘I’m so sorry ma’am you had to give up riding and I feel for you.’

“Anyway, I got a reply, literally in the mail, saying ‘I haven’t given up riding,’ which I was very pleased about.

“It was nice when you happened to have a winner for the queen as you could see the joy and excitement. I can’t tell you how important she was to the racing world.”

Richard Hughes drove 51 winners for Her Majesty and coached his first winner in her colors when Patchwork won at Redcar in 2017.

He said: “Having one winner for the Queen was like having 10 winners. I am very privileged and lucky to have trained for such a wonderful woman.

Just two days before her death on September 8, the Queen celebrated her last winner, Love Affairs at Goodwood, with race director John Warren.

He revealed that even the week of her death, Her Majesty was still making strategies and plans for future goals for her horses.

Warren said: “She was in such a healthy state of mind and in tremendous shape. We sat for hours strategizing and making plans. I think the best thing for me is knowing that she was surrounded by her family members.

“I left her on Monday afternoon, the Prime Ministers came on Tuesday and she had a winner that day. She was in really good shape that night, pleased that she had a winner and she talked about the comings and goings of the Prime Ministers.’

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