In pictures: Prince Charles unveils horse statue at Ascot Racecourse

Photos by Ian Longthorne

George Roberts

Prince Charles was given a belated 70th birthday present in the form of a 12ft statue when he visited Ascot Racecourse today (Friday).

The Prince, along with the Duchess of Cornwall, appeared at the Prince’s Countryside Fund Race day, where they unveiled a bronze statue of a horse’s head and congratulated jockey Rosie Margarson and her horse Caribbean Spring for winning the charity race.

Inside, his royal highness had a few laughs when the birthday cake, made with ‘dry stone walling’ by Waitrose baker Fiona Cairns, proved quite difficult to cut.

The Royal Couple met a number of farmers who had benefited from the charity’s farm restoration programme, and the conversation shifted from equine to bovine when Charles met a beef farmer who keeps a breed of cow that the Prince is the patron of.

James Richards, a farmer from the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, keeps Red Ruby Devon Cattle. The Prince of Wales is the patron of the Devon Cattle Breeder’s Society.

Mr Richards said: “It’s a bit surreal for a beef farmer from the darkest depths of Cornwall. It’s not an everyday occurrence.

“We talked about the local breed, the Ruby Red Devon Cattle, which he is the patron of.

“He is a very, very knowledgeable man about farming, which a lot of people would not expect. It’s a passion that’s very close to his heart and he has had a fantastic influence on farming.”

The race day was held as an annual fundraiser for the Prince’s Countryside Fund, a charity started by his Royal Highness in 2010, which aims to support and enhance family farms in rural areas across the UK.

Amongst the charity’s celebrity ambassadors is television presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who said: “I’m a country man. I know the value of the countryside.

“Without them villages would crumble, farm life crumbles.

“They are like a little pin and if you pull the pin out the whole edifice falls down.”

After the races were over, the prince unveiled the one-and-a-half tonne statue, a 70th birthday present from Ascot, created by Nic Fiddian-Green, who is also responsible for a horse statue at Marble Arch in London.

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