Oman's royal cavalry to the fore at Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee spectacular

Star-studded cast honours British monarch at horse show near Windsor Castle

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Mounted troops from the Middle East were at the forefront of a star-studded equestrian show celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee.

The British monarch was honoured with a standing ovation at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Sunday.

The queen, who is marking 70 years on the British throne, applauded as The Royal Cavalry Oman performed an expert display of horsemanship.

Those at the open-air arena near Windsor Castle were treated to a traditional display, including a group of horses who laid down midway through the performance in an impressive move alongside their trainers.

The Bahrain Defence Force and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police escorted the queen from the arena back to Windsor Castle after the show.

King Hamad of Bahrain had been personally invited to the event by the queen but was unable to attend after the death of the UAE's President Sheikh Khalifa on Friday.

Tom Cruise and Dame Helen Mirren led the cast of entertainers who appeared in the first major event marking the queen’s 70-year reign.

The audience rose to their feet applauding and cheering when the monarch arrived for the musical and theatrical romp across the centuries called A Gallop Through History.

The event welcomed spectators over four days and the queen spent part Friday touring the showgrounds after earlier missing Britain's State Opening of Parliament.

The queen appeared to enjoy the show, particularly its finale when her own horses and ponies were led around the open-air arena, passing the royal box.

Dame Helen gave a heartfelt tribute to the queen, telling the head of state: “For all these years you have carried our nation. You have been at its heart, its drumbeat. You have given us purpose and when situations have been challenging, your hope, guidance and leadership have been unswerving."

Despite mobility issues the queen had walked to her seat in the royal box after she was driven into the arena escorted by mounted divisions of the Household Cavalry.

She was joined by the Earl and Countess of Wessex for the show that reflected her life-long passion for horses.

A guard of honour featuring the Coldstream Guards, RAF Regiment and Royal Navy was in place for the queen’s arrival, while Britain's national anthem was played by military musicians.

Among the celebrities taking part were Damian Lewis and Katherine Jenkins, as well as an all-star cast of British and international talent for Sunday’s performance.

The queen sat in the royal box with a blanket over her knees and a shawl around her shoulders.

Performers from Azerbaijan had the crowds cheering when riders performed feats as their horses galloped, from lying on their backs to doing handstands.

The group had travelled 4,000 miles to perform at the event.

Cruise introduced what he said was “one of the most enthralling, thrilling, heart-in-mouth displays” as he announced a performance by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

He said: “It takes huge courage and discipline to do what they do, galloping with guns that were fired in the battles of the First World War, weighing one-and-a-half tonnes, with no brakes.

“The drive demonstrates absolute trust between horse and rider.”

The crowd clapped in time to the music as an orchestra played and the horses galloped around the arena pulling the historic guns.

At the show’s conclusion, the queen was driven on a lap of honour in her vehicle, waving to the cheering spectators as she passed.

Updated: May 20, 2022, 6:50 AM
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