A sad loss for the Royal Family on their first Christmas without the Queen

The Royal Family have had sad news this Christmas, their first without the Queen

The Queen's favorite horse has died
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

On what will already be a Christmas tinged with sadness for the Royal Family who are spending their first festive season without the late Queen Elizabeth, there’s more sad news. The Queen’s favorite stallion, Royal Applause, died on Christmas Eve, aged 29.

The Royal Family have arrived at the Sandringham Estate for Christmas, their first without the late Queen Elizabeth II.

While the royals will maintain many of their traditions – such as exchanging gifts on Christmas Eve and partaking in their much-loved morning walkabout – there’s no denying that there’ll be a profound sense of change and loss for the family.  

And, in a somewhat poignant closing chapter, the family are now mourning the loss of the Queen’s favorite horse, who reportedly passed away on Christmas Eve.

Queen Elizabeth II riding a horse at Windsor

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Royal Applause had been living at the Royal Studs in Sandringham since his retirement from racing in 1997 and had sired dozens of top quality racehorses in that time.

He was the late Queen’s resident stallion at the Royal Stud, producing foals from 1998 until his retirement in 2014.

The Queen was a well-known lover of racing, being given an award for her beloved pastime but this is one tradition Charles will break from. He is reportedly selling 12 of the Queen’s late racehorses.

The Queen's love for horses started back when she was just a young girl, presented with her first pony by her grandfather, King George V. That first pony was a Shetland called Peggy.

The young Princess Elizabeth started her love of horses at a young age

(Image credit: Central Press/Getty Images)

Her Majesty became hugely knowledgeable as a rider, owner and breeder of horses and her passion for them was evident at the race meetings she attended publicly, which regularly included the Derby at Epsom and Royal Ascot, a Royal occasion since 1711.

In 1954, she took her favorite pastime to the next level when her horse Landau won the Rous Memorial Stakes and a stallion called Aureole won the Hardwicke Stakes.

In 1957, the Queen had four winners during Ascot week and she became the first reigning monarch to have won Royal Ascot’s Gold Cup with her thoroughbred Estimate in 2013.

Royal Applause was a said to be one of the Queen’s very favorite horses, and she would request to see him during her visits to Sandringham. Even when her health was failing by 2022, she was seen being driven to check up on her beloved horses.

There were many who thought her love for horses spurred on a remarkable recovery earlier this year, when she willed herself to ride her horses again at Windsor during the decline of her health.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

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