In case you somehow missed it, on Monday morning in London, Kate Middleton gave birth to her third child with Prince William. Almost immediately after making the announcement, Kensington Palace also shared that royal family members including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, and Prince Philip were "delighted" by the news. The Queen has, after all, clearly had succession on her mind as of late, having just officially named Prince Charles as her successor as head of the Commonwealth, and the newborn is already fifth in line for the throne.
But don't let that give you the wrong idea. Even though it's certainly more pertinent to her than most, the Queen has not simply been sitting around and waiting for the news, like the royal baby super-fans who've been camping outside of Middleton's hospital wing of choice for the past 15 days. Nor was she driving by the hospital to meet her latest great-grandchild, as even her wax replica deigned to do. Instead, on the morning in question, no doubt after being aware that Middleton had left for the hospital, since she did so before 6 a.m., the Queen was out and about like any other non-nonagenarian. More specifically, she was out horseback riding at Windsor Castle, accompanied by her Head Groom, Terry Pendry, and her steed, a black Fell pony named Carltonlima Emma.
Carltonlima Emma has been one of the Queen's favorite and most trusted horses for years, and the bond between them has likely grown since she lost her last corgi, the breed of dogs she's surrounded herself with for the past eight decades, just last week. (The pony comes from a breeder who has no shortage of similarly delightfully named creatures, like Carltonlima Adele and Carltonlima Porsche, if you'd like to get one for yourself.) And so, with a need to get even closer to one of her pets than usual, and in the midst of a million royal goings-on at once—the newborn, the ongoing media circus around Meghan Markle, Pippa Middleton's reported pregnancy, and the Queen's 92nd birthday just this weekend—it's understandable that the monarch would get a little flustered and forget to wear her helmet early on a Monday.
And yet, rather than an oversight, the Queen's decision to simply wear a headscarf was in fact quite conscious; she's in fact "never" worn a helmet throughout all of her years of horseback riding, and apparently isn't about to change that, even in this time of new royal beginnings. Going sans hard hat has in fact been her signature trademark practically ever since she took her first riding lesson at age three. (Sorry, Bella and Kendall: With nearly nine decades of riding under her belt, at this point, Her also seems more than worthy of the title OG Horse Girl.)
According to a biographer who spoke with the Queen's trainer, she has always been the "epitome of caution and common sense" when it comes to riding—and has also "never worn a hard hat while riding." When the trainer once raised this contradiction to the Queen—"I really think it is ridiculous that you above all others do not wear a crash helmet"—she reportedly simply replied, "I never have—and you don’t have to have your hair done like I do."
On the other hand, the Queen also previously said that she loves riding because it allows her to be "just another human being." Still, we can't exactly blame her for having some fun at 92—especially if she's trying to preserve the spectacular coif she sported just the other day, while off partying with Shawn Mendes.