THE Queen missed the whole of Royal Ascot for the first time ever this year.
Her Majesty was noticeably missing from the carriage procession on all five days of the racing extravaganza in Berkshire after battling mobility issues for several months.
Punters had hoped the horse-mad monarch would make an appearance at least once, but she was replaced by other royals throughout the event.
The 96-year-old, a passionate racehorse owner and breeder, likely watched the action unfold at home in her "comfy clothes" as she did for the Epsom Derby during the Platinum Jubilee weekend, according to her granddaughter Zara Tindall.
Yesterday, the Duke of Kent stepped in for the head of state to lead the royal procession.
He was followed by Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.
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At one point, a horse pulling the couple became spooked and scarily lost control.
The animal bucked wildly as it tried to dart off the track – but experts managed to calm it down within seconds.
Other royals in attendance across the week included Prince Charles and Camilla, Princess Anne, and her son Peter Phillips.
But Kate Middleton stole the show on Friday when she looked the double of Princess Diana in a polka dot dress.
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The 40-year-old wore a white Alessandro Rich dress with black spots almost exactly like the one worn by Di when she went to Ascot in 1988.
During the races, Kate watched intently alongside husband William, 39, as hot favourite Perfect Power romped to victory in the Commonwealth Cup.
And she beamed with delight as Wills appeared to point out that she had picked the winner.
Kate then presented the winner's cup in the parade ground.
The Queen's grandson Peter, 44, spent his time at the races with his girlfriend Lindsay Wallace.
But the monarch declined an invitation to any part – the first time she has missed Ascot completely in her 70-year reign.
It is not known exactly why Her Majesty, who had more than 10 horses entered over the five days, chose to stay at her Windsor Castle home – just a 15-minute drive away – but it is likely to due her ongoing "episodic mobility problems".
The Queen missed several events during her Jubilee celebrations after suffering "discomfort".
She has been using a stag horn mobility aid in recent weeks, and has also been spotted with her late husband's walking stick.
A £62,000 golf buggy is said to be helping her walk her dogs at Windsor – and it also ferried her around the Chelsea Flower Show last month.
Dubbed the Queen Mobile, the six-seater buggy is kitted out with all of the mod-cons to help Her Maj travel in style and comfort.
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This includes all-weather covers, a fridge, cup holders and an info-entertainment screen.
A source said: "She’s battled stiffness in her legs recently so the cart is perfect."
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