Queen 'to miss Epsom Derby to pace herself' on Jubilee weekend

29 May 2022, 12:54 | Updated: 29 May 2022, 12:56

The Queen may miss the Epsom Derby in an effort to pace herself during her Jubilee celebrations
The Queen may miss the Epsom Derby in an effort to pace herself during her Jubilee celebrations. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Queen is no longer planning to attend the Epsom Derby during her Platinum Jubilee weekend.

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The 96-year-old monarch is said to want to pace herself during her milestone celebrations, with her daughter the Princess Royal representing her at the racecourse instead, The Sunday Times reported.

The Derby on Saturday June 4 was to be a personal highlight for the Queen during the four days of Jubilee festivities.

The head of state, a passionate horse owner and breeder, was due to be greeted on the course with a special guard of honour including up to 40 of her past and present jockeys.

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But the newspaper revealed the monarch is now "increasingly unlikely" to head to Epsom.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment, saying the Queen's attendance at events would not be confirmed until closer to the time.

The Queen has battled mobility issues in recent months
The Queen has battled mobility issues in recent months. Picture: Alamy

The nation's longest reigning monarch, who is on a pre-Jubilee break resting in Balmoral, Scotland, has been facing episodic mobility problems in recent months.

This led her to miss a number of major events this year, including the State Opening of Parliament.

She is, however, expected to delight the crowds with 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.

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The monarch is also hoping to be able attend the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday, with her wider family including, it is expected, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York.

It could be the first time Harry and Meghan have been seen alongside the Windsor clan since 'Megxit' and since they accused an unnamed senior royal of racism during their controversial Oprah interview.

The Epsom Derby is an annual event
The Epsom Derby is an annual event. Picture: Alamy

The monarch is expected to spend time at some stage with the Sussexes, who are bringing their children Archie and Lilibet over from the US.

Lili celebrates her first birthday on the Saturday, but it is not yet known when she will meet her great-grandmother in person for the first time.

Both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge are said to be preparing to pay public tributes to the Queen during the star-studded Party At The Palace concert on Saturday night, which features acts including Diana Ross and Queen + Adam Lambert.

The Queen is not expected to be there, and will watch on television instead from Windsor Castle.

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The Met Office is predicting sunny blue skies and dry weather on Saturday with temperatures hitting 20C.

But those picnicking and taking part in the spectacular Pageant parade through central London on Sunday could face more unsettled weather, with a cloudier, chillier day and some risk of showers.

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.

"Providing leadership and wisdom, this remarkable woman has dedicated her life to serving her people and to her beloved Commonwealth.

"She has led this country through good times and bad, inspiring people to serve others and their communities to create the pride and allegiance that unites us all."