Everyone loves a side hustle – Her Majesty included. According to figures compiled by website myracing.com, the Queen has netted around £6.7 million from her prize-winning race horses since 1988.
So far, horses owned by the Queen have notched up 451 race wins out of 2,815, bringing in prizes totalling a massive £6,704,941 and giving her a win percentage of 15.9. This year alone, she has earned £413,641 from 20 wins; last year, meanwhile, marked a record for Elizabeth with wins of £557,650. She is currently the 11th most successful owner in the Flat Owners Championship (Godolphin Racing tops the rankings with winnings of £5.5 million).
Elizabeth II is well known for her lifelong love of horses, and urban myth has it that she reads a copy of the Racing Post over breakfast each morning. The monarch had her first riding lesson at the tender age of three, and was then given her first pony, a Shetland mare named Peggy, as a birthday gift just one year later. While she would often attend official ceremonies, such as the trooping the colour, on horseback in her youth, these days the 91-year-old is (understandably) rarely spotted on horseback in public, though she is still a regular attendee at Royal Ascot and the annual Windsor Horse Show, which is hosted on the royal estate.
It’s thought that Her Majesty’s winnings go back to the horse’s trainers, though the palace has refrained from providing a detailed breakdown; according to the Telegraph, a spokesperson described the matter as ‘private.’
Every July, the Queen makes a visit to the Royal Stud at the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, where her horses are foaled, and she often returns to assess their progress and development. Raised at Polhampton Stud in Hampshire then passed on to one of five selected trainers, they remain in Her Majesty’s care even once they have retired from racing.
It’s not just race horses that occupy the Queen’s attention: she also breeds Shetland ponies on her Scottish estate at Balmoral, and Fell ponies at Hampton court.
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