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he biggest problem for the Queen’s family has been what to give her as a 90th birthday present. Here is the woman who really does have everything. Of course what Her Majesty would most like is a racehorse that could win the Derby, but that has proved to be an impossible dream – so far.

   In 2011 the much-fancied Carlton House, a gift from Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum, almost won her the Classic – she had gathered almost her whole family to watch – but victory eluded her and the horse ended up in third place. Carlton House was a personal gift to the monarch and she derived great enjoyment from the colt’s successes.

   Two years later Estimate won the Gold Cup at Ascot. It was the Queen’s biggest success since 1977, Silver Jubilee year, when Dunfermline won the Oaks and the St Leger, two of the flat racing Classics.

   ‘This is her passion, this is her life,’ Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandchild, said after her 2013 win. ‘Every year she strives to have winners, and to win the big one at Royal Ascot means so much to her and so much to her supporters.’

   As always at this time of year, the Queen has a busy time ahead of her. She will attend both the Royal Windsor Horse Show and, on the same site in the Home Park Private, the finale of four nights of a spectacular horse pageant to celebrate her birthday. Three days later she will be at the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament.

   For the Queen birthday celebrations will sit alongside the usual duties. Some have been a little out of the ordinary, such as being photographed for a second time by Annie Leibovitz. The American celebrity photographer, who had previously described the Queen as ‘feisty’, admitted our head of state impressed her, particularly as she did her own hair and make-up.

   On 2 May Prince Harry will arrive in Toronto for the official launch of the countdown to the third Invictus Games, which will be held in the Canadian city in September 2017. On his way to Orlando for this year’s games, he will stop off in Wellington, Florida, to take part in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup.

   Harry is as dedicated to his charity work as his late mother was and he recently returned from an additional week in Nepal, where he was helping volunteers with the charity Team Rubicon UK to rebuild a school devastated by last year’s earthquake.

   The Queen has given her approval to a £27m revamp of the visitor facilities at Windsor Castle, to include increased public access and the opening of a café in the 14th-century Undercroft. A further £10m will be spent at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The ‘Future Programme’ will be entirely funded by the Royal Collection Trust from admissions and retail income.

   Work begins in 2017, with completion scheduled for the end of 2018. Both castle and palace will remain open to visitors throughout the development.

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