Nothing could make up for the loss of a partner of 74 years.
The Queen will be in mourning for some time, of course, and she will be seen for the first time since the death of her husband, Prince Phillip, at his funeral on Saturday.
While hardly at the forefront of her mind right now, the Queen is – as you may know – a fanatical lover of horse racing.
She has owned numerous Group One winners down the years too, and one of the current stars of her yard – Tactical – may just have raised the slightest of smiles as he triumphed at Newmarket on Wednesday.
The 5/1 fancy backed up some high-profile victories last year by landing the European Free Handicap – another triumph masterminded by trainer Andrew Balding and by Oisin Murphy in the saddle.
“My thoughts are with Her Majesty the Queen and all the Royal Family at this very sad time,” Murphy said in his post-race interview with ITV Racing. “It was a very nice performance. Tactical has trained really well. It is always a honour to wear these colours.”
Balding confirmed that the three-year-old, who triumphed in the July Stakes amongst other races in 2020, will be targeted at a repeat of his Royal Ascot glory. Tactical won the Windsor Castle Stakes by more than a length last June in a classy field.
“Royal Ascot is very much the objective. The St James’s Palace Stakes he’ll have an entry, but also the Jersey Stakes,” the trainer confirmed. “He won at Royal Ascot last year and it might be wishing too much to do it again, but he is the right kind of horse.
“He’s just a wonderful horse, and I’m so pleased for everyone involved.”
John Warren, racing manager for Her Majesty, hoped that the win might have come as a welcome boost.
“Let’s hope that this gives the Queen something to take her mind off things. It’s nice to have alternative things to think about and a nice way to start the season. It was never the intention to stop having runners but there won’t be any on the day of the funeral [on Saturday].”
What Involvement Does the Queen Have in Racing?
A fan of the sport since she was a young girl, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the breeding operation of her father, King George VI, back in 1952.
You may recognise the silks that jockeys riding her horses carry – the purple body with the red sleeves and gold detailing. Horses owned or bred by the Queen have won more than 1,500 races, including all of the British Classics on the Flat – barring the Epsom Derby, that is.
Her Majesty has twice won the champion owner trophy, and even into her ninth decade she’s still an avid fan and racegoer – as soon as Covid restrictions are lifted, you can expect to see her back at trackside.
Who knows, maybe there’s still time for her to cheer home her first ever Derby winner….