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The Queen was honoured with a standing ovation as her Platinum Jubilee celebrations kicked off with a star-studded equestrian extravaganza that featured some of the world's leading performers.
Hollywood actors Tom Cruise and Dame Helen Mirren – once again playing a Queen of England – led the cast of entertainers who appeared in the first major event marking the monarch's 70-year reign.
The audience rose to their feet, applauding and cheering, when the Queen arrived at an arena close to Windsor Castle for the musical and theatrical romp across the centuries called A Gallop Through History.
The event was staged by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which has been welcoming spectators for the past three days including the monarch who spent part of her Friday touring the show grounds after earlier missing the State Opening of Parliament.
Despite ongoing mobility problems the Queen walked to her seat in the royal box after she was driven into the Castle Arena escorted by mounted divisions of the Household Cavalry.
She was joined by her son the Earl of Wessex for the show, which reflected her lifelong passion for horses.
A tri-service guard of honour featuring the Coldstream Guards, RAF Regiment and Royal Navy was in place for the Queen's arrival which was signalled by the National Anthem being played by military musicians.
Among the celebrities taking part were Damian Lewis, Omid Djalili and Katherine Jenkins, an all-star cast of British and international talent for Sunday's performance, which was broadcast live by ITV.
Ahead of the event, Cruise was asked by the PA news agency if he was looking forward to the show, where he was expected to announce an element of the performance, and replied: "Absolutely".
Dame Helen, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the Queen in the film of the same name, played Queen Elizabeth I as the show began by chronicling the events of the first Elizabethan age, from the attempted invasion of the Spanish Armada to leading figures of the day such as William Shakespeare.
Television presenter Alan Titchmarsh said "our identity, heart and soul is embodied by Her Majesty the Queen".
The gardening guru and writer told presenters Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham: "This is a remarkable year, 70 years for a remarkable woman whom I've met quite a lot and been bowled over by because she's such ferociously good company.
"She has enormous quiet charisma, like Nelson Mandela did. He had a kind of grace and the Queen's the same.It's important in our lives, particularly this past couple of years, that we have special.
"If we don't know our own family history, we know hers, and she in a way shares her lineage with us and her history is our history, and that matters to us. Whether we're conscious of it or not."
Cruise, best known for action film franchises Top Gun and Mission Impossible, told Schofield and Etchingham that the Queen "is a woman I greatly admire".
He said: "What she has accomplished is historic. She has met presidents, world leaders, people from all walks of life. Not just Americans, but the world knows the dignity, devotion and kindness, that is what I have always felt about her.
"Someone that understands her position and has held it through a history that's just been extraordinary the past 70 years."
The Queen clapped and smiled as The Royal Cavalry Oman performed live. The open-air arena was filled with vibrant colours and the sound of bagpipes from the Middle East.
The traditional display included a group of horses who laid down mid-way through the performance in an impressive move alongside their trainers.
The Queen appeared to enjoy the celebrations as she was seen to smile at various performances by the horses, including a display by an Azerbaijan equestrian and dance display.
Flaming torches and dramatic stunts
The show saw riders come out with flaming torches and perform dramatic stunts which included standing on a galloping horse.
The group had travelled 4,000 miles to mark the Queen's 70-year reign and the journey with their horses took an "entire week", presenter Phillip Schofield said.
The Queen has attended every Royal Windsor Horse Show since its inception 79 years ago, reflecting her keen interest in horse racing and breeding. In a photograph marking her 96th birthday in April, she was pictured with two fell ponies.
'Loving thanks' from one queen to another
The Queen was offered the nation's "most loving thanks" from a queen of screen and stage.
Dame Helen Mirren paid tribute to the monarch for her "unswerving" leadership through the years.
Dame Helen said she spoke on behalf of " a grateful nation and commonwealth" in expressing thanks.
Addressing the Queen, she said: "I voice our loyalty and our appreciation on this celebration of your Majesty's 70 years on the throne of the United Kingdom and of the many other nations where you are head of state.
"For all these years you have carried our nation. You have been at its heart, its drumbeat. You have given us purpose and when situations have been challenging, your hope, guidance and leadership have been unswerving.
"I address you on behalf of all your loyal subjects. We commend and admire the way that you carry out the affairs of state with such dexterity and poise.
"I therefore speak on behalf of a grateful nation and Commonwealth when I give you our sincere and most loving thanks."
Hollywood star wants to copy Duke
Tom Cruise wants to follow in the Duke of Edinburgh's footsteps and land a helicopter in an iconic London landmark.
While speaking to Schofield and Etchingham backstage, Cruise recalled a particular anecdote with the late Duke, whom he had met at a charity event.
He said: "There was a moment, of course we were talking about pilots, we had to talk about helicopters, and he was telling me the wonderful story of how he got the first helicopter into Buckingham Palace during (the Queen's) coronation.
"Fantastic story. I was this close to going 'I'd like to land a helicopter, if you ever need a helicopter, I think I could put it right there.'
"Since I was four years old I wanted to make movies and fly airplanes."
Schofield later retorted: "I hope that we planted a little seed and at some stage you get to land a helicopter in Buckingham Palace.
"Let me do it in Trafalgar Square," Cruise said.
Cruise later introduced what he said was "one of the most enthralling, thrilling, heart-in-mouth displays" as he announced a performance by The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
He said: "It takes huge courage and discipline to do what they do, galloping with guns that were fired in the battles of the First World War, weighing one-and-a-half tonnes, with no brakes.
"The drive demonstrates absolute trust between horse and rider."