Hearty and hale: The palace shares stunning new photo to mark the Queen’s 96th birthday

It certainly combats fears for Her Majesty's health.
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The royal family has shared a new photo of the Queen looking hearty and hale ahead of her 96th birthday, reassuring royal watchers of her health.

Her actual birthday falls on April 21, though her landmark Platinum Jubilee celebrations will be held in June in line with the monarch’s “official” birthday.

To celebrate Her Majesty’s major milestone, the new snap that was shared on Thursday features the Queen posing with two stunning white horses – a subtle nod to her lifelong passion for horse riding and equestrian sports.

“Ahead of The Queen’s 96th Birthday tomorrow, @royalwindsorhorseshow have released a new photograph of Her Majesty with two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale,” the Royal Family Instagram caption read.

“Taken last month in the grounds of Windsor Castle, the photo is the fourth in a series of photos released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, following images that celebrated the Golden Jubilee, the Platinum Jubilee and Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday.”

The account also alluded to Her Majesty’s historically long rule, adding: “First staged in 1943, The Queen has attended every single Royal Windsor Horse Show.”

But most royal fans’ eyes were glued to the monarch herself, who appeared healthy and smiling in the photo.

Dressed in a long green coat and sensible black shoes, the soon-to-be 96-year-old showed no signs of the health concerns that have been plaguing her for months.

It began in October 2021 with an overnight hospital stay for an undisclosed ailment, which was followed by months of reduced royal duties for the Queen on doctor’s orders.

WATCH: The Queen opens up about how COVID-19 affected her health. Story continues after video.

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She continued to skip major events towards the end of the year, including the Remembrance Sunday Service, and was spotted using a walking stick at the few events she did attend.

Concerns for her health continued into 2022 as the Queen battled COVID-19 and continued to pull out of engagements and limit her movements, even skipping the annual Maundy Day service over Easter.

However this latest photo has reassured royal watcher that, though she is ageing, the Queen is in good spirits and appears as dedicated to her royal service as ever.

“She looks so well, such an incredible milestone for Her Majesty,” one commenter wrote of the new photo on Instagram.

Prince Harry revealed how his grandmother feels about her 96th birthday.

(Image: Getty)

Another penned: “Good to see her out and about and doing what she loves. I love this picture and I love the Queen.”

Though fans are eager to celebrate the monarch’s 96th birthday, her grandson Prince Harry recently said she’s not that excited about the big day.

Speaking in a new TV interview with the US Today show, the Duke of Sussex said that “after a certain age you get bored of birthdays”.

He and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex recently visited Her Majesty in London two years after their royal exit in 2020.

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