Woman breaks free of crowd, marches right up to the Queen

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The Queen received a warm reception from fellow horse-racing enthusiasts Sunday as she arrived for the 151st running of the Queen's Plate.

She was pulled down the track in a landau to the applause and cheers from the thousands of people at Woodbine racetrack.

The Queen arrives for the 151st running of the Queen's Plate in Toronto Sunday. Photo by The Canadian Press

TORONTO -

The Queen received a warm reception from fellow horse-racing enthusiasts Sunday as she arrived for the 151st running of the Queen's Plate.

She was pulled down the track in a landau to the applause and cheers from the thousands of people at Woodbine racetrack.

It is not the first time the well-known enthusiast of horse racing attended the oldest continuously run stakes in North America -Elizabeth was at the Queen's Plate in 1959, 1973 and 1997.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watched the eighth race, spent some time in the walking ring, then watched the running of the Queen's Plate.

Big Red Mike captured the $1-million Queen's Plate with Eurico Rosa da Silva aboard, earning the $600,000 winner's share in the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. The Queen presented the trophy to the horse's handlers.

The Queen's Plate was first run on June 27, 1860 after Queen Victoria granted a plate valued at 50 guineas.

Earlier Sunday the royal couple received a similarly warm welcome attending a morning church service, although the carefully co-ordinated visit was thrown for a bit of a loop when a woman broke free of the waiting crowd and marched right up to the monarch.

The Queen, who moments earlier had stepped blinking into the bright sun after the morning worship at St. James Cathedral, took the unplanned meeting in stride, smiling and chatting with the woman.

Security appeared reluctant to physically stop the woman who ambled up to the Queen and gave the monarch a commemorative St. James Cathedral tea towel wrapped in a black, plastic bag.

The woman was one of hundreds of people who had been waiting outside the church since the early morning to catch a glimpse of the Queen, nearing the end of her 22nd Canadian tour.

About 700 more people who scored first-come, first-serve tickets packed the sweltering church to attend the service with the Queen and Prince Philip. The worshippers included many women wearing fancy, wide-brimmed hats.

The Queen, wearing a blue and white outfit with cream heels and a cream purse, white gloves and a turquoise hat, and the Duke of Edinburgh, entered the church as "God Save the Queen" was played, followed by "O Canada."

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his wife, Progressive Conservative provincial politician Christine Elliott were among the other dignitaries who also attended the service. A very excited looking Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty sat with his wife and Lt.-Gov. David Onley across the aisle from the royal couple.

The Queen presented a set of eight silver hand bells engraved "The Silver Chain of Friendship 1710-2010" to representatives from two Royal Chapels of the Mohawks located on two First Nations territories in Ontario.

She also rededicated St. George's Chapel, a section of the cathedral named in 1935 for the silver jubilee of King George V's accession to the throne.

While more stoic throughout the ringing of the hand bells, after unveiling the plaque in St. George's Chapel she turned to the cameras and beamed, looking very pleased.

As the Queen and Prince Philip left the downtown church the waiting crowd erupted in applause and cheers of "We love you, Queen Elizabeth."

She was given bouquets of flowers by several people and even stopped to chat with a few.

Joan Armstrong was so excited after speaking with the Queen and Prince Philip it was all a blur.

"I've forgotten (what I said)," the 87-year-old said after the Queen left.

Her daughter jogged her mother's memory, saying Armstrong told the Queen she served for England doing decryption work during the Second World War.

The Queen acknowledged her service and said, "Oh good, thank you," Kate Armstrong recounted.

Even though it went by in a flash it was obviously thrilling for the elder Armstrong.

"Hooray!" she squealed. "I'm so excited."

So far the royal couple has also visited Halifax, Ottawa and Winnipeg on their nine-day Canadian tour.

Organizations: Queen's, James Cathedral

Geographic location: TORONTO, North America, Ontario St. George's Nations territories England Halifax Ottawa Winnipeg

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Recent comments

  • Chris
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I'm amazed that people in this day and age would even care one iota about some useless figurehead. This woman and her family are famous for one reason only: the luck of being born into a certain family. Why are people still treating then as if they are special and/or important?

    I just don't get people's obsession with celebrity, as well as the fascination with such outdated things as Kings and Queens. Isn't this the 21st Century?

    The Queen is no different than Paris Hilton - famous only because she was born into a famous family.