We all know that the Queen has a much-documented love and dedication to her horses. In fact, even last year at the age of 94, the head of The Royal Family was pictured on horseback in Windsor, marking her first public appearance since the COVID-19 lockdown began in the United Kingdom the year prior. And she has remained steadfast in her intent to return to horse riding after she was forced to give it up in August of 2021 due to her advanced age and discomfort from certain ailments.
Yet this doesn’t mean that she is unable to keep horses or supply them for racing. The question is how much she actually gains from entering these horses into events, and also, does she ever place bets on the races themselves? Perhaps she backs her own horses for a few pounds every now and then. She has definitely been captured attending horse racing events throughout her reign as monarch of the United Kingdom, and with it being one of her favourite hobbies, it is likely that she’ll continue embracing it for as long as she lives.
Here, we’ll take a closer look at how much the Queen earns from her horses participating in racing events, as well as the possibility that she may engage in betting on the races, too.
A Variety of Figures Reported
Over the years, a number of figures have been raised as to how much Queen Elizabeth has gained from her horses and their race participation. One of the most recent instances of such figures being revealed came in June of 2022, when the Daily Star suggested an income of £8.7 million from the animals over the past 35 years. This, the newspaper said, includes £160,000 in 2022 alone.
It can be revealed that the longest-reigning British monarch has entered her horses into 3,446 races across the country since 1988, with 567 of them being victorious for Her Majesty. This is what has helped her to rack up the £8.7 million payout in prize money. And while 2022 has been successful for her already, nothing has compared to the results she experienced in 2021. It was in this year that the Queen amassed a total of £584,399 in prize money, coming from a total of 36 victories on the track.
Many sports bettors have a fondness for backing the Queen’s purple-jacketed runners, too. Then again, with it being the case that royalty laid down the foundations for horse racing in the United Kingdom, this is not hard to understand. It didn’t take long for it to become a huge phenomenon in the country, with people’s love for both attending the races themselves, and placing bets on the horses leading to quite the income booster for the national economy.
The Queen’s most recent successful horse (as of June this year) was Steal A March, which claimed a victory for her on the Platinum Jubilee weekend. This brought in a total of £6,219.32 for Her Majesty and marked her 11th win of the year so far.
Despite the fact that the Queen has seen many of her horses flourish on the racetrack, sports bettors who have proceeded to place wagers on all of her entrants won’t find themselves to be ahead of the game. Should you have backed the monarch’s horses in every race they’ve partaken in over the last 35 years, you would find yourself down by £492.55 if you had placed a £1 stake on each one.
The Queen is Not Alone in Her Love of Horses
While most people look to the Queen as the primary supporter of horse racing in The Royal Family, she’s not the only one who has had a vested love for the sport. While she hasn’t really been able to secure the same sort of excitement for it from her own children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward – it has been noted that Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has also displayed a keen interest in it. The wife of Prince Charles has managed to amass her own income from horses competing in the races, gathering £134,606 from such, since she began owning them in 2008. Her year-high reward came in 2016, when she collected £40,885. Camilla’s horses have only managed to get into the Winner’s Enclosure eight times over, though.
While Charles does have his own horses, he has not shown quite as much love for them as his mother. And the same is true of Princess Anne, who has herself been spotted out on horseback on a few occasions, and even competed as an Olympic equestrian. That being said, Anne’s daughter Zara (and her husband Mike Tindall) have both showed quite the passion for horses and horse racing over the years. Mike purchased his first horse, known as Monbeg Dude, in 2015 from a charity auction. That horse went on to come out on top of the Welsh National and had a couple of successes at Cheltenham before finishing in third place in the Grand National two years after.
Where Zara is concerned, she currently serves as the course director at Cheltenham. In 2014, she made a horse-riding comeback after giving birth to her daughter Mia and revealed in 2019 that both of her children are taking after her with an interest in horse riding. Naturally, Zara is an Olympic equestrian herself, just like her mother. She was successful in the Eventing World Championship in Aachen back in 2006 – the same title that her mother won at the age of 21.
Generation after generation of The Royal Family have placed quite a love and admiration on horse racing, with some obviously taking to it a lot more than others. The Queen’s first victory came back in 1953, when her horse Choir Boy claimed the Royal Hunt Cup. But she’s certainly not the first British monarch to be enamoured with horse racing.
You can go back many centuries to when the monarchy engaged in horse racing and riding. The Stuarts were actually responsible for the development of Newmarket racecourse. James I visited the area in February of 1605 and between the following year and 1610, he built the Newmarket Palace, establishing it as a royal resort in the process. It was this that also made Newmarket a horseracing town. Charles I also did his best to maintain the royal connection with the place a few decades later, but he was captured and imprisoned within the palace at Newmarket, guarded by Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.
It was once Charles II came to the throne, ruling over England, Scotland and Ireland in 1660, that Newmarket became a huge centre for horse racing. He was a great lover of the sport himself and rode in many of the races taking place there, too. Charles II went on to found the Royal Plates and in 1665, he instituted the Town Plate. This is still competed for today, and Charles remains the first and only reigning monarch to win a race, which occurred back in 1671.
That sort of fascination with horseracing has continued on throughout the years, with the royals having quite the connection to it. That much remains true today with Queen Elizabeth, whose father, George VI, was also an avid fan of the sport. When he was unwell, Elizabeth rode in his place on his chestnut horse Winston – a horse that she continued riding after his death, too.
Does the Queen Bet on the Horses?
Many people have wondered whether or not Her Majesty likes to have a bit of a punt on her horses, or indeed on other horses. It’s a good question to ask, although the answer to it is not something that can be said for certain. Various reports have certainly suggested that she has had a wager or two on them, and The Sun reported in 2020 that the monarch has obtained over £6 million in prize money from gambling on her own thoroughbreds.
That figure is not something that can be confirmed, as it is unclear from the article whether the newspaper is referring to actual gambling winnings or earnings from her horses being successful in races in general.
The Queen herself has also insisted that she does not gamble. Despite this, keen observers of The Royal Family have stated that virtually every morning while engaging in breakfast, she reads The Racing Post. Many will know this as a daily horseracing and sports betting newspaper.
It is a popular suspicion that Her Majesty (and other members of The Royal Family) place wagers on the horses, but it is considered by some more likely that she does not. Apparently, a professional does mark her card for her, which gives her an insight into which horses she should watch by buying a dope sheet. The likelihood is that the income she already obtains from the horses she possesses is more than enough to satisfy her excitement. Why would she need to engage in betting on them as well?
The truth of the matter is that nobody officially knows whether the Queen or any other members of the monarchy participate in gambling on the horses. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility, of course. Some Royal Family members have been associated with gambling in general before. For example, Prince Harry took a trip to Las Vegas in 2011 during his military training in the United States. While there, he visited the Tryst Nightclub and ended up participating in some gambling at a VIP table. And while this does not amount to betting on the races or gambling on the Queen’s thoroughbreds in any way, it does make it clear that The Royal Family are not beyond the means of being able to gamble.
One other instance of a Royal Family member engaging in betting on the horses came in 2018. It was at that year’s Royal Ascot race that Sophie, Countess of Wessex staked £2 on four horses – Tomyris, Cracksman, Archetype and Headway. Unfortunately, none of those horses were successful in their respective races, leaving Sophie without any earnings from her bets. Clearly, she was there to enjoy her time and not get overly serious about her horse racing wagers. That marked her second successive day of attending Ascot in 2018, while the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle also made her debut at the races that day. Joining them were the Queen, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Anne and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
A Final Word
While it remains unclear whether or not the Queen has ever placed a bet on her own horses, there is a likelihood that maybe she’s had a small wager like Sophie in the past. The same is true for other members of the monarchy. However, what is more evident is that the Queen has brought in money from the possession of horses that are entered into races. There is little need for her to get involved in vast amounts of betting in the end, considering it is not likely to do much for her in comparison to the earnings from racing the thoroughbreds.
What also remains true is that the Queen has a strong love for the horse racing scene, and indeed for horses in general. Often times, when spectating the races, she will lean forward to see her own entrants, and is frequently seen with the most genuine and engaged expressions on her face while the races are taking place. And this, as noted, is something that will doubtless continue for as long as she remains the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom.