Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, like so many of us, had a fondness for the adrenaline rush, the highs and lows and unrivalled joy that sport can provide.
Whether her influence on sport is remembered in the famous scenes as she handed England’s Sir Bobby Moore the World Cup trophy in 1966, or her humorous James Bond cameo in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, the monarch’s love of sport and competition shone through in so many memorable moments.
But while the countless presentations of FA Cups and the numerous images alongside victorious sporting sides – notably the England 2003 Rugby World Cup winners and the 2005 Ashes victors – remind us of her duty to our sporting heroes, few moments sum up Elizabeth II’s true love for sport like Estimate crossing the finishing post at Royal Ascot nearly a decade ago.
Her victory at the 2013 Gold Cup was the biggest of a lifetime; the crown jewel in a career of racehorse-ownership which saw over 550 winners.
Images of the grin spanning her face, the desperation to win as the final furlong approached, and the relief when her favourite filly – and jockey Ryan Moore – secured the cup. She was in her element.
She was never happier in sport than when she was around horses and minds hark back beyond Estimate; to Aureole, Doutelle, Phantom Gold and Highclere – the pillars of a stellar racing operation worth millions.
Sport is an amazing thing.
It brings together groups of people with differences for a common purpose, to watch and enjoy heart-stopping action.
It connects people who speak different languages, believe in different things and otherwise don’t always see eye to eye.
We saw and understood this no more than in the summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where 72 nations descended on Britain’s second city to compete in what are known as the friendly games.
While Her Majesty did not attend the fortnight of festivities, the results of decades of work on the international stage in transforming Britain’s past into a Commonwealth shone through.
The Games are and will remain a shining light of how a modern world can adapt under changing values, something sports the world over are learning to grapple with.
Her Majesty will be remembered for so many sporting moments, and her sense of duty to sport and beyond. But above anything else she will be remembered as a fan; a fan of the moments that make us cheer, laugh and, on occasion, cry.