Clare Balding reveals touching remark Queen made at her 90th birthday

Clare Balding reveals the touching remark the Queen made to her during her 90th birthday pageant – as the sports presenter opens up on her royal friendships

  • The sports presenter has been brushing soldiers with royalty since childhood
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Clare Balding has divulged the warm comments made to her by the Queen at her 90th birthday celebrations.  

The sports presenter, 52, appears on the front cover of the July issue of Woman & Home before hosting Wimbledon once again later this summer.

During the interview, the former jockey opened up about her relationship with the Royal Family – having raced against Zara Tindall and Princess Anne during her sporting career. 

The star has a long association with the royal family through her grandfather, Peter Hastings-Bass, father Ian Balding and uncle, the 17th Earl of Huntingdon, with all serving as trainers for the Queen’s horses.

Her connection to the British monarchy has led to numerous meetings with Her Majesty – who passed away aged 96 on September 8th last year.

In a new interview for Woman & Home, Balding reveals the connection she has with the royals after moving in the same circles – often sporting – for decades 

Clare’s father, Ian Balding, trained race horses for the Queen – revealing the late monarch once came to breakfast at the family’s home 

Reflecting on her early career, Clare said: ‘I don’t ride any more, but when I was younger, I raced against Princess Anne. 

‘It was always fun. I see Zara Tindall a lot, as she’s always on the events circuit. We get on really well.’

Clare had several interactions with the Queen thanks to her father’s job. She explained: ‘My dad trained racehorses for the late Queen and she once came to breakfast.’

Compere Clare: The sports host, 52, presented the coverage of the late Queen’s 90th birthday pageant

What’s more, Clare said the Queen made a heartwarming remark when she attended one of the late monarch’s 90th birthday celebrations in July 2016.

She added: ‘I compèred her 90th birthday pageant and I was on the stage as she came up to make her speech. 

‘She said, “Oh, it’s Clare. How nice, thank you for coming.” I think she was thinking, “What the hell is Clare Balding doing here?”‘

Last September, Clare recalled an awkward moment that happened in front of the Queen at one of the dinners she attended.

Clare Balding and the Princess Royal pictured when the BBC Sports presenter was still riding in 2012

Clare Balding and wife Alice Arnold pictured at their wedding reception at Chiswick House in 2006

The July issue of woman&home is on sale Wednesday 31st May 2023

Appearing on Lorraine, Clare recalled the moment her unconventional attempt at cutting a sausage in front of the monarch almost ended in disaster. 

She said: ‘I was trying to cut my sausage long ways and it’s very slippery when you hold it like that. 

‘And it could shoot and it did. It shot out towards the Queen. She raised an eyebrow.’ 

Luckily, Balding admitted The Queen soon made light of the gaffe – much to her great relief.

The presenter is married to broadcaster Alice Arnold, the couple had a civil partnership in 2006 before converting it into a marriage nearly a decade later. 

Speaking to Woman & Home, Clare said: Being gay is who I am and it’s the way I’ve lived. 

‘The only reason it took me a while to come out publicly was not only because of the fear of the reaction, but that it might have a negative effect on my work. As it happens, that wasn’t the outcome, but at the time I didn’t know. It’s a lot easier now.’

The July issue of woman&home is on sale Wednesday 31st May 2023 

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