Camilla the Queen Consort will take over the reins from the late Queen as the Royal figurehead of horse-racing, senior sources have told The Mail on Sunday.
She is known to adore the sport and her role is being openly discussed in racing circles. King Charles inherits the Sandringham stud, plus the Sovereign’s racing colours: purple body with gold braid, scarlet sleeves and black velvet cap with gold trim.
However, the King has to date not been as enthusiastic about the sport as his wife. Charles was a keen amateur jockey in the 1980s but his involvement has been nominal.
Camilla is widely tipped to take charge of her mother-in-law’s stable of racehorses
Now Camilla is widely tipped to take charge of her mother-in-law’s stable of racehorses.
A senior racing source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I think now it will be Camilla – she will be the figurehead. The plan has always been that Charles and Camilla would take on the legacy.
‘Camilla obviously adores horses and is hugely passionate about racing. She really loves it, particularly Cheltenham – the jumps. I think there’s a pretty clear plan, given the Queen’s passion and love for racehorses.’
Charles and Camilla are committed to ensuring the continued success of Royal Ascot in Berkshire.
The King inherits about 24 racehorses and some 80 brood mares. The Princess Royal and Zara Tindall may wish to have first pickings but their main interest is eventing horses not racehorses.
Racing insiders say owners and breeders have already expressed interest in acquiring some of the Queen’s horses if they become available. A formal review of the Royal Stud, thoroughbreds and breeding horses is expected to be ordered by the King within weeks.
The King inherits about 24 racehorses and some 80 brood mares which Camilla is tipped to take over
As heir to the Throne, the King was always aware the ownership and breeding of thoroughbreds was an expensive undertaking and was wary of committing himself to a large investment in the sport.
His mother had in recent years encouraged him to take a greater interest in her hobby. John Warren, the late Queen’s racing manager, has said the King’s interest in the sport to date has been ‘a slow burn’.
Before the King’s accession to the throne he said: ‘Prince Charles has always followed it, but it has been his mother’s interest so it has been at arm’s length. He owns a few horses himself, in particular with the Duchess of Cornwall. She is absolutely besotted by racing.’
The late Queen’s love of horses and ponies was passionate and enduring. On her fourth birthday she was given her first pony, a Shetland named Peggy, from her grandfather George V, and by the age of six was able to ride and control her.
She became so knowledgeable that it is said she could gauge the going on a particular race day at Ascot by listening to the sound of the hooves of her landau horses as they hit the ground.
John Warren, the late Queen’s racing manager, has said the King’s interest in the sport to date has been ‘a slow burn’
The late Queen’s love of horses and ponies was passionate and enduring (Pictured on the grounds of Windsor Castle in May 1944)
For years members of her family joked the only people who could easily reach her by phone were her racing managers. In an iconic image to mark her 96th birthday in April, the Queen was pictured with a huge smile holding the reins between two magnificent white fell ponies.
She had 1,600 winners, including victory in four of the five British Classic races. In 1957 Carrozza won the Oaks, in 1958 Pall Mall won the 2000 Guineas, in 1974 Highclere won the 1000 Guineas and in 1977 Dunfermline won the Oaks and St Leger. John Warren once remarked: ‘If the Queen were not the Queen, she would have made a wonderful trainer.’