Queen's 90 years marked with pageant featuring horses and showbiz stars


The Queen's life was celebrated with a spectacular equine-themed show featuring stars of stage and screen who performed in honour of her 90 years.

In the grounds of Windsor Castle - said to be the monarch's favourite home - the Queen's celebration was marked with a majestic displays of famous horse troupes, both military and civilian, from across the globe and other performances featuring four-legged animals.

Her family joined her in the royal box for the two-hour show, televised live by ITV, led by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and a number of minor royals.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales

Among the famous faces who were due to perform in honour of the Queen were Kylie Minogue, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Shirley Bassey with Geordie duo Ant and Dec hosting the show.

The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday on April 21, and Charles wished his mother "the happiest of very special birthdays" writing in the official programme to mark the event, the culmination of the annual Windsor Horse Show.

Charles also paid tribute to the Queen's passion for all things equine. The Queen has been passionate about horses and ponies her whole life and away from her role as head of state is devoted to her thoroughbreds.

The monarch's love of the equine world is something she inherited from her mother and she has been cheering on her horses for more than 60 years.

Anthony McPartlin (left) and Declan Donnelly present the televised celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday

Thoroughbreds owned by the Queen have won four out of the five flat racing classics - the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger - with only the Derby eluding her.

Charles, who is patron of the Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration, wrote: "I am delighted that we have succeeded in bringing together hundreds of members of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and other long-standing overseas friends to mark this special birthday.

"It could not be more fitting that a quite different group which also enjoys the Queen's unfailing interest and support - horses, of myriad breeds and colour - will join the 600 sailors, soldiers, airmen and women who make up this evening's celebration."

Charles went on to quote a Greek philosopher and historian: "As we marvel at the incomparable skill of rider and horse alike, we might allow our minds to drift to Xenophon's observation that 'a horse is a thing of beauty...none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendour'."

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive in the Scottish State Coach during the televised celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday in the grounds of Windsor Castle

The Queen and Philip were the last members of the royal party to arrive at the event - which featured all the royal men in black tie - and when her horse drawn carriage arrived the royal couple were greeted by Charles and Camilla.

The heir to the throne kissed his mother on both cheeks and on her gloved hand while his wife curtseyed to the monarch.

Dec told the 6,000 spectators in the stands: "Her life has spanned 10 decades and historic milestones include one world war, two coronations, man landing on the moon, the dawn of the new millennium, two London Olympic Games and of course 287 bush tucker trials."

Gary Barlow kicked off the entertainment with a belting performance of the song Something About This Night.

Gary Barlow (centre) performs onstage during the televised celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday

Famous actors narrated the historic moments from the Queen's life starting with Downton Abbey star Jim Carter who covered the monarch's childhood years and introduced his wife Imelda Staunton who performed a song.

Dame Helen took the audience through the monarch's war years and how the nation fought against Nazi tyranny.

The bleak post-war years were brightened by the royal wedding of the then Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947.

The actress went on to describe the young Queen's coronation on June 2 1953 and at the end of the sequence mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins gave a rousing rendition of I Vow To Thee My Country.