Heartbreak for the Queen as five of her beloved pets die

Her majesty is fond of animals so the news will come as a shock

Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip
(Image credit: PA)

Very sad news for Her Majesty the Queen has been reported.

  • The Queen has sadly suffered the loss of five of her beloved pets.
  • Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II is fond of horses and the death of five of Highland ponies at her Balmoral estate was caused by a grass sickness.
  • This royal news news comes after a big change to the Queen's reign was announced.

Her Majesty the Queen is believed to be saddened after suffering the loss of five of her beloved pet ponies.

The monarch's animals are said to have been killed by a devastating disease that attacks the animals' nervous system

The Queen's stud manager Sylvia Ormiston revealed that five ponies, including two breeding stallions have died from the grass sickness in just two years.

"Here at Balmoral we are prepared to help in any way we can to make progress towards a cure for this dreadful disease," she said.

A photo posted by on

The disease is understood to have first caused the death of pony Friendly - a "sweet two-year-old filly", followed by her mother, Clunie, just 24 hours later.

A three-year-old male pony called Omas also died and in 2018 the stud's two stallions, Balmoral Lord and Balmoral Hercules, died within two weeks of each other.

All the ponies died at Balmoral in Scotland, where they were part of a programme set up to preserve the historic breed as the hardy Highland ponies are used as workhorses at Balmoral as most of the land is inaccessible by vehicle.

A photo posted by on

But after contracting equine grass sickness, which is believed to be triggered by toxins which attack the body and eventually paralyse the animal's gut, the ponies sadly died.

Her Majesty is known for her love of horses and was photographed riding her 14-year-old Fell Pony called Fern in the grounds of Windsor Gardens during the coronavirus lockdown.

Speaking about the Queen's love of animals, Mr Pendry, stud groom and manager at Windsor Castle, said, "The Queen breeds racehorses, carriage horses, hunters, sports and riding horses, and also polo ponies when, back in the day, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh was playing at a very high level."

The ponies are a vital part of royal life - during stag hunting season they carry the carcasses, which can weigh up to 18 stone.

And they have also carried picnics for the Royal Family and their guests at grouse shoots, and bring back the shot birds in large pannier baskets.

A photo posted by on

Mr Pendry added, "Her knowledge and expertise is well known. She names all of her horses and ponies herself and can remember the parentage of every single one.

"She still rides to this very day, and it is an important part of her life. Her Majesty has a fountain of knowledge in all things equine, you might say a living encyclopaedia."

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)