I don’t suppose there’s something extra levelling than animals; they merely don’t care who we’re or the place we’re from. Considering what I’ve skilled of the Royal Family’s love of animals over the years, it was no shock for me to see Her Majesty the Queen with two lovely white fell ponies in her most up-to-date photograph portrait.
Behind the curtain of ceremony, I’ve been fortunate sufficient to expertise the Royal Family’s ardour for animals first-hand. I keep in mind my very first assembly with the Queen; as quickly as we obtained on to the topic of my Blue Peter canine Meg, and the indisputable fact that I grew up on a farm, the tone of our encounter modified sharpish. The Queen was fascinated to listen to how, as a working sheep-dog, Meg coped with the Blue Peter studio. Our monarch simply obtained it and understood my challenges coping with Meg’s herding instincts.
Seeing that current photograph of the Queen took me again to 2018 and the lawns of Windsor Castle, the place I took one other of the Queen’s fell ponies, Emma, for a stroll in the grounds. A spotlight for me was mucking out her steady – the final declare to fame for somebody who loves a pitchfork as a lot as I do.
Back in the day, after work and between Blue Peter shoots, I used to go to assist train the Household Cavalry horses in Hyde Park and trip out with the King’s Troop on train, practising for the ceremonial gun salutes. I additionally went carriage driving with the late Prince Philip’s crew of horses, and sensed his ardour for the sport and skilled the energy of his animals. I’ve additionally filmed with the Prince of Wales on Home Farm. Again, we had a passionate dialog about heritage farm-animal breeds, which led to me shopping for some of His Royal Highness’s Hebridean sheep. They are nonetheless going sturdy in our flock to this present day.
What I love about dialog like that is the way it results in fascinating insights into the sort of animals individuals are fond of. During a filming journey to Sandringham, I used to be shocked to find the Queen’s ardour for pigeons after I was lucky sufficient to go to the royal pigeon loft. Her Majesty is patron of fairly a few pigeon-racing societies, together with the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the National Flying Club.
In reality, I beloved that loft a lot that I’ve since constructed a related walk-in design of indoor pens for our chickens on the farm. Which, if I ever get the probability to satisfy the Queen once more, I’ll inform her about – and we will decide up the place we left off, speaking about the animals!
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