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JUBILEE Queen Begins Weekend at Derby Adrian Dennis, AFP / Getty Images

Queen Begins Weekend at Derby

And they’re off! Queen Elizabeth II marked the beginning of her Diamond Jubilee weekend with a stop at the Epsom Derby, one of England’s premier horseracing events. The more than 200-year-old tradition draws crowds of 200,000 annually, and holds special resonance for the queen, who had her first official engagement at the derby after her coronation in 1953. The queen is well-known as a racing enthusiast, but she’s much more than a spectator: the monarch owns and breeds her own stock of horses. “She adores breeding racehorses,” John Warren, the queen’s racing manager, told reporters. Celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the queen’s reign will continue throughout the weekend, and include a 1,000-boat parade down the River Thames on Sunday.

June 2, 2012 7:44 AM