Royalty at the Kentucky Derby

Yesterday marked the 139th Kentucky Derby and a horse named Orb claimed the top prize after a muddy and spirited race. Here’s a quick look at my Derby festivities:

photoWatching it all go down got me thinking about what royals have attended over the years, so I did a bit of a digging! Let’s take a look.

Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1963

This photograph was taken at The Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia in April 1963, shortly before Prince Rainier made his way to Lexington where he watched a horse named Chateaugay win the Race for the Roses.

The West Virginia Encyclopedia
The West Virginia Encyclopedia

They all look ever so chic. It seems that Princess Grace and Albert and Caroline were visiting with Grace’s family in Philadelphia while the Prince enjoyed the Derby solo. This must explain why photos of the Prince in the stands are hard to come by…naturally, if Grace had been there there would have been several iconic shots.

Princess Margaret in 1974

Just under ten years later, Princess Margaret and her then husband the Earl of Snowdon paid a visit to the Derby. Margaret is pictured below awarding prizes and the Earl is in the dark suit to the right of the photograph.

Via The International Museum of the Horse
Via The International Museum of the Horse

This trip was part of a larger State Visit to Canada and the United States for the couple. It also included a stop in Winnipeg, where she celebrated the city’s centennial and handed out citizenship certificates to new Canadians, and New York City, where she dined with dignitaries at the Waldorf Astoria.

Prince Albert of Monaco in 2002

Prince Albert seems to have made up for his missed trip in 1963 by attending the Derby in 2002.

Hello Magazine
Hello Magazine

Yeah, that’s far from an awesome photo, but it’s all that could be found. Seriously! So, in lieu of a great photo, I give you this bit of trivia:

Prince Albert claims to be the only Prince out there to have visited all 50 of the United States. Yeah, that’s right.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 2007

In more recent memory, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were guests of honor at the Derby in 2007 during a State Visit to the USA. This must have been a natural choice for the trip since the Queen has had a life long love of horses and horse racing.


During her visit, she walked through the trophy room to admire the prizes:


Fortunately for us, this stop has also been immortalized in the 2007 documentary ‘The Royal Family At Work.’ I recall there was quite a kerfuffle around making sure they got the right photos of the Queen at the Derby…it was a case of making it happen without annoying her. As I recall in the end they were only quasi-successful.

After the race, the Queen made a bit of a covert trip and snuck out of a side entrance. Here is some coverage of the event from a local news station.

Princess Haya & Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (Prime Minister of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates) in 2009

Via PA, taken at Ascot 2010
Via PA, taken at Ascot 2010
Princess Haya of Jordan is the Sheikh’s second wife and a very successful equestrian. Amidst her many other accomplishments, we discussed how she is a former Olympian in a past post which can be found here.
For his part, the Sheikh is a major player in the world of horse racing and breeding. According to NBC Sports, he has said that
“A love for horses runs in my blood,” Sheikh Mohammed has said. “Don’t forget that horses have been bred for centuries by Arabic tribes, they were used for hunting and fighting and they symbolize our history. Horse riding is more than merely sitting on a horse’s back. It is nobility and chivalry.”
Upstart Business Journal
Upstart Business Journal
Gainsborough Farms in Kentucky is one of the many stables he owns, and in 2009 he and Princess Haya attended the race to see two of his horses, Regal Ransom and Desert Party, take to the field.
A photo of the couple at that event are hard to come by, but one can be seen here. The Princess is standing behind the Sheikh.
In the end Regal Ransom came in 10th and Desert Party placed 19th, so his desire to win the Kentucky Derby continues.

Maybe next year?

A Royal Olympic Day

Well it was quite a Royal day at the Olympics! Let’s recap, shall we?

The British Royals

First of all, Zara Philips and her team won the silver medal in Three Day Eventing. Way to go, Zara! That’s her right in the middle of her team on the podium:

As we discussed in our post on British Royals at the Olympics, Zara was following in both of her parent’s Olympic footsteps. Princess Anne was there to cheer Zara on and was all decked out in Olympic paraphanalia. Camilla sat next to her:

Princess Anne awarded the medals. Here she is with Zara:

As you can see, Anne chose quite the hat for today’s event. Quite the hat. Zara’s dad Mark Phillips was there as well. He coaches the American eventing team, who placed fifth.

Love this shot of William being all “Your sister won!!” with Peter Phillips in the stands:

Beatrice and Eugenie were there today, too:

We imagine that the Queen and Prince Philip were watching it all unfold on the TV up at Balmoral where they are having a bit of a break. Oh – and we were very happy to see that that “James Bond with the Queen” rumour turned out to be true! Here’s that video if you missed it:


The Royals of Jordan

It doesn’t seem like many journalists picked up on the fact that Anne wasn’t the only Princess involved in the medal ceremony. Princess Haya of Jordan, daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, presented the winners with their bouquets.

Sadly, there are no pictures of her at the event to be found but we do have this one which taken at the Sydney Olympics when she participated in Show Jumping.  That’s right, we have yet another Royal Olympian to discuss!

Princess Haya was also the flag bearer for Jordan a the Sydney Games:

Princess Haya really is all about horses. She is the President of the International Eventing Federation and is also involved in horse racing. This was taken at Royal Ascot this past June. Princess Haya’s horse Joviality (awesome name) won the Windsor Forest Stakes. Fierce outfit! Love:

Princess Haya also holds the title Sheikha of Dubai as one of the wives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

The Royals of Monaco

Meanwhile in the pool, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos won the gold medal in the 200 Butterfly, narrowly beating Michael Phelps. Princess Charlene, who competed for South Africa at the Sydney Games, was there to cheer him on along with his parents:

Princess Charlene has been a big supporter of the team since becoming Princess of Monaco. She even had the team come to Monaco to do some training before heading to London. Here’s another shot of Charlene and Albert at the pool:

On another note, I happened to hear a CNN interview with Charlene and Albert on the radio today. In it, Charlene seemed MUCH more prepared than she did in the awful, cringe inducing CBS interview that was broadcast last week. If you haven’t seen it, it’s really quite incredible. CBS even took it down from their website and edited out all the terrible parts. Like when Prince Albert called a time out when Charlene can’t answer the question “what’s it like to be a princess?”  and when Charlene looks like completely fed up and over it when Princess Grace comes up.  Fortunately, the original video is still available on a website we tracked down. Go ahead and check it out by clicking here.

Until next time, happy Olympics watching!

For more Royal Olympic frivolity, check out:

Spain’s Royals at the Olympics

Denmark’s Royals at the Olympics

Monaco’s Royals at the Olympics

Sweden’s Royals at the Olympics

The Dutch Royals at the Olympics

Norway’s Royals at the Olympics