Queen beams as she returns to Ascot after COVID-19 hiatus

LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II smiled widely as she competed in the final day of the Ascot races on Saturday, where environmental protesters urged the monarch to urge politicians to act faster on climate change.

An avid racing fan and owner of racehorses, the 95-year-old Queen has attended Ascot almost every year during her seven decades in reign. She was absent last year when the event went without an audience due to the coronavirus pandemic. Her return came two months after the death of her husband Prince Philip at the age of 99.

The British Queen Elizabeth II will take part in the Ascot races in Ascot, England on Saturday. David Davies / PA via AP

The Queen wore a mint green outfit and matching hat, and was applauded by the crowd as she arrived to cheer on four horses she owned that were racing on Saturday. She smiled broadly as she inspected one of her horses, Reach for the Moon, after it came close to second.

The annual race meeting west of London is a heady mix of horses, extravagant headgear, costumes, champagne and strawberries with cream.

Demonstrators from the environmental organization Extinction Rebellion unfolded a banner on the racetrack with the words “Racing to Extinction” on Saturday. The group said four women taped their banner and chained themselves to the fence to protest, to be seen by the queen. She wasn’t around at the time.

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