Clare Balding’s ‘surprise’ visit from Queen: ‘He forgot to tell us!’

Gogglebox: Clare Balding teased by wife over quiz shows

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The presenter, 50, is heading the BBC’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that were postponed last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She is joined by fellow well-known presenters such as Gabby Logan, as well as more recent additions to the broadcasting team, like ex-footballer Alex Scott. Clare has covered six previous editions of the Games, as well as Wimbledon and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Before developing her on-screen career, she was an amateur flat jockey, the best in her year during her first year at University of Cambridge.

The presenter was raised in a horse-racing family, with her grandfather, father and brother all having trained the Queen’s racehorses.

Clare’s first ride on a pony was on a Shetland named Valkyrie, who was given to the family by the Queen.

The monarch used to drop in around twice a year to check on her horses, according to Clare.

However, the royal visits sometimes came as a “surprise” to Clare, who revealed in an appearance on ‘The Jonathan Ross Show’ that sometimes her father would forget to tell her they had company.

“My dad trained for the Queen so growing up, she would come and see the horses, and my brother still does train for the Queen,” she told the chat show host in 2012.

She said: “My father had either forgotten to tell me or I hadn’t listened and so he’d forgotten to say that the Queen was coming for breakfast.

“I come haring in and I’m in my really dirty jodhpurs and I’ve got a rugby shirt on and a spotted handkerchief around my neck.

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“There’s the Queen sitting at the head of table and I kind of missed my moment to curtsy and say your majesty and do all the things that you’re meant to say. 

“There’s a gap and I just go ‘oh great sausages, fantastic, cooked breakfast.”

The presenter said she then tried to cut a sausage but it slipped and shot along the table towards the Queen.

Clare grabbed the sausage to avoid it hitting the monarch, but said she knocked over some milk, much to her mother and father’s disappointment.

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She said that although the visits may have been a surprise to her, there were clues to Her Majesty’s arrival as the breakfast might be a “bit smarter” than usual.

As well as horse-riding, Clare has been heavily in rugby, presenting the sport for the BBC, while she is the current president of the Rugby Football League.

Ahead of the Games she and her Olympics colleagues Alex Scott and Gabby Logan appeared on the cover of Good Housekeeping magazine.

The trio opened up about their experiences outside of sport, including how their family life works alongside their careers.

“Look at us! I think we represent three different types of women: I’m the oldest with no children, Gabby has two and Alex doesn’t have any yet – all trying to do our jobs and juggling our lives as best we can,” Clare told the magazine.

She also spoke about enjoying the “slower Pace” of lockdown, saying it was “nice to come off the wheel completely.”
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