Being Queen is no Horseplay


Boredom, depressing speeches and drugged horses; it’s not easy being Queen.

On Tuesday night, Buckingham Palace announced that a racehorse belonging to the Queen had tested positive for morphine in a recent drugs test. Estimate, a five year old filly, was thought to have ingested a contaminated feed store containing poppy seeds, resulting in the presence of morphine in the post-race urine sample.

The BBC’s scrolling news ticker when paused at the right time, seemed to suggest that the drugs scandal went deeper than most people thought, with the phrase ‘The Queen has tested positive for morphine’ appearing on screen, after the words ‘A racehorse owned by…’ had already moved on.

BBC Queen mistake
Image source: BBC

The probable outcome of the positive test is the stripping of Estimate’s second-place finish in this year’s Gold Cup at Ascot. This would presumably devastate Her Majesty, who seems to be only truly happy/not miserable when watching a horse run around without falling over. Forget presiding over one of the greatest Olympics of all time, meeting James Bond and having 1,000 boats row down the Thames in her honour, like some crazy invasion fleet about to suddenly turn and advance on Normandy, as payback for Mr. The Conqueror. Liz II remains pretty unimpressed unless there’s a shiny horse based gold cup to be won. Because, you know… The Queen is a little short on gold trinkets.

Estimate actually won the Gold Cup last year, much to the unbridled joy (pun most definitely intended) of the Queen and Estimate’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute. How someone can get so excited about horse racing is beyond me; it’s cruel, it’s gambling fuelled, it’s… What’s that?… The taxpayer gives the Queen £37.9 million a year!!… so that means… part of that horse is mine… OH MY GOD! My horse won the Gold Cup!! Yeehaw! I’m gonna be rich! Rich I tell ‘ya! So long suckers… Eh?… What do you mean I don’t pay tax yet?… so you mean… I didn’t… I’m not… Well good, like I said I don’t like horse racing anyway… so there!

To be honest I can totally understand the Queen’s otherwise almost constant bad mood. Because, for all the niceties that come with being appointed by God, she still has that depressing annual task of giving a speech, to a group of bloated, overfed people, who either just want to have a nap after drinking a bit too much sherry or who want to play with the cool new toys they’ve just had bought for them, by somebody else. I am of course referring to her address to Parliament.

The Monarch’s annual address to Parliament, which of course is not written at all by the Queen herself, is filled with the same well-meaning but hollow words year after year; ‘reduce the deficit’, ‘create jobs’, ‘responsible spending’ and so on.  I would therefore not be surprised if, sooner or later, the speech will instead turn into one of those pivotal, hero defining, movie scenes. One where the protagonist holds the microphone in his/her hand and has a choice whether to recite the evil corporation’s doctrine or scream the truth to the world, eventually choosing the latter, before immediately being dragged away by men in suits. Or more likely in this case, the Queen will look down at the speech, then up at the evil coorpo… sorry MPs, back at the speech and then, after giving the most apathetic sigh possible, groan; “Oh, what’s the point!” Before dropping the microphone and storming out, not stopping until she gets to Aintree so she can watch a horse jump over a hedge.

Feature Image courtesy of Charles Roffey



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