Queen Elizabeth II smiles brightly at horse show, her first public appearance in weeks

Elise Brisco
USA TODAY

Queen Elizabeth II has that Friday feeling, sporting a grin and sunglasses while doing her favorite thing — spending time with horses. 

The 96-year-old monarch attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show Friday as she was chauffeured by a driver while she joyfully greeted the horses through the car window. The competition is a four-day event that has often been considered one of the queen's favorite, as an avid horse lover herself. 

This year's show occurs during the queen's Platinum Jubilee celebration and will include a "gallop through history" show, which features a 90-minute program showcasing more than 500 horses and 1,000 performers.

Queen Elizabeth smiles as she looks at one of the horses part of  The Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Queen Elizabeth's equestrian love runs deep.  She owns many for breeding and racing, and she has been riding since she was young. To ring in her 96th birthday in April she posed next to two of her ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale.

In her first public photo during COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, she showed off her riding skills and got in the saddle at 94 years old. 

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Her public appearance Friday comes off the back of canceling several planned appearances earlier this month. 

She missed Monday's opening of Parliament due to ongoing mobility issues, Buckingham Palace announced. 

It was just the third time in her 70 years on the British throne missing the event. The palace said in a statement to USA TODAY the queen consulted with her doctors and "reluctantly" decided not to attend as she was experiencing episodic mobility problems. 

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Instead Prince Charles, who is the direct heir to the British throne, read her speech which sets out the government's agenda for the coming parliamentary session. Prince William also attended. 

Queen Elizabeth II

In the beginning of May, Buckingham Palace announced the queen would miss the traditional royal garden party season, where she would normally meet with hundreds of people on the grounds of her residences in London and Edinburgh. Other members of the royal family represented for her instead. 

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In February, the queen tested positive for COVID-19 a few weeks after Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla tested positive. The palace said the queen experienced mild, cold-like symptoms. She has since recovered and has attended a handful of public events while continuing to hold virtual audiences regularly.

Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, Maria Puente