Royalty and statesmen

The Queen rides out on Saturday in the grounds of Windsor Castle with a groom
Photo: Rex
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Three days later she was back at work helping mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
Photo: Getty Images

Having advised his wife to "press down harder", Prince Philip steps in to slice though the elaborate icing on a cake in the shape of Kew's famous Palm House
Photo: Getty Images

Queen balances her official duties with a bank holiday ride

6 MAY 2009
Still maintaining a busy calendar of official engagements at 83, the Queen remains equally spry in her choice of down-time activities. Making the most of the bank holiday sunshine, the monarch headed out for a morning ride in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Mounted on a sizeable steed the royal matriarch trotted within the boundaries of the royal residence which is 25 miles from central London. The Castle, which lies close to the River Thames, is used by the Queen as her official residence for a month over Easter.

Three days later the grandmother-of-eight was once again showing how sprightly she is by wielding a shovel to help plant a tree on a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew to mark the 250th anniversary of the London landmark.

Despite saying she lacks "green fingers", the Queen had no problems shovelling earth over the roots of a ginkgo biloba sapling. Her husband later did his bit with one of the world's rarest trees, the 90 million-year-old Wollemi pine which was believed to be extinct before being rediscovered in 1994.

The 'labour' element of their visit out of the way the royal couple were presented with an iced fruit cake sculpted in the likeness of Kew's famous Palm House.

While riding and tree planting proved no problem for the monarch, tackling the elaborate culinary creation - which took 60 hours to make presented more of a challenge. "Press down harder," instructed Prince Philip before having a go himself.


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