Queen Suffers Another Jubilee Disappointment As Hopes for Derby Win Crushed

Queen Elizabeth II has suffered yet another disappointment in her Platinum Jubilee year, as her long held ambition to win the coveted Epsom Derby horse race has been crushed—for this year at least.

A central event of the Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations in June, courtiers and followers of horse racing had held out hopes that the monarch might finally win the Epsom Derby as the crowning glory to her milestone year.

On Tuesday, these hopes were dashed as it was revealed that all three of the queen's horses entered for the event had been withdrawn.

The star entry from the 96-year-old monarch's stable of racing stars was a three-year-old colt named Reach For The Moon. A promising talent, the horse was given 7-1 odds to win the event and was expected to be a central focus of the race as the queen's horses regularly generate interest outside of the usual race going crowds.

Queen Elizabeth II Horse Form
Queen Elizabeth II has seen her three horses withdrawn from the Platinum Jubilee year Epsom Derby. Photographed at Royal Ascot, June 19, 2021 Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The Epsom Derby holds a special interest for the queen as it is the only one of the five English classic horse-racing events that she has not won as an owner. These include—in addition to the Derby—the Oaks, the One Thousand Guineas, the Saint Leger and the Two Thousand Guineas.

The closest that the queen has come to securing a Derby win was in the year of her coronation, where her celebrated runner Aureole came in second place.

Speaking of Reach For The Moon's withdrawal, the queen's trainer John Gosden told the Racing Post: "Following a setback last autumn, Reach For The Moon has been given all the time and care he requires in his training program," but that following his injury the race was just "too soon for him."

"Consequently, he will not run in the Derby and will be pointed towards Royal Ascot," Gosden said.

The monarch's two other runners, General Idea and Educator, were classed as outsiders and deemed too green to be realistically in with a chance of securing the win.

This knock to the queen's Derby dream is just another in a series of blows the monarch has faced in her Platinum Jubilee year, from a series of PR blunders and calls for her removal as head of state among several Caribbean countries to facing potentially having to cancel her appearances at certain jubilee events due to health and mobility issues.

A Problem Posed By Prince Andrew

One of the greatest trials faced by the queen so far this year is the continued criticism of Prince Andrew who settled a sexual assault lawsuit brought against him in the U.S earlier this year.

It was reported at the time that the prince may have had assistance in paying the settlement, estimated to be in excess of $10 million, from the queen and/or his brother Prince Charles. This saw the queen face criticism for her apparent support of her son who has continuously denied the allegations brought against him in connection with his friendship with notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The queen faced even greater criticism at the service of thanksgiving for the life of her late-husband Prince Philip in March when she appeared on the arm of Andrew, who hadn't been seen since he formally retired from his official royal roles and stopped using his HRH (His Royal Highness) title earlier in the year.

The queen's appearance with the disgraced prince was seen by some as an attempt by the monarch to rehabilitate his image in some way and prompted a fierce backlash online.

Whether Andrew will appear at any of the jubilee celebrations in June is yet unknown.

Queen Elizabeth II Prince Andrew Philip Memorial
Queen Elizabeth II came under heavy criticism for her decision to allow Prince Andrew to accompany her to Prince Philip's memorial service. March 29, 2022. Richard Pohle/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prince Harry's Memoir and Other Stories

Prince Harry too has been accused of causing the queen unnecessary upset during her jubilee year with plans to release a memoir this fall. The prince announced that he was writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become" and is expected to discuss to some extent members of the royal family in connection with his own life story.

Harry himself made the announcement via a television interview in April that he may not be attending the planned jubilee festivities in London this June as a result of his ongoing legal dispute with the U.K Home Office regarding security.

NBC News' Today show host Hoda Kotb asked the prince in an interview promoting the Invictus Games whether he would be with his family at the queen's summer celebrations, to which he responded: "I don't know yet. There's lots of things with security issues and everything else. This is what I'm trying to do, trying to make it possible that I can get my kids to meet her."

Aside from family issues the queen faces her own personal limitations which may impact her enjoyment of the special events planned to celebrate her 70-year reign which include a special Trooping of the Colour ceremony, a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral and a pop concert outside Buckingham Palace.

In 2021, the queen began using a walking stick for the first time in public and at an engagement in March announced to a visitor to Windsor Castle: "As you can see, I can't move."

So far this year the monarch has pulled out of a number of public appearances including the commonwealth day service at Westminster Abbey, the Royal Maundy Thursday service at Windsor and the annual royal Easter Sunday service at St. George's Chapel.

It has been reported that the queen's attendance at public events moving forwards, including the jubilee celebrations, will not be announced until the day in question.

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