Northern Ireland

The Queen's visit: Royal antiques assessed for TV show

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Media captionThe Queen has her antiques examined by BBC TV show Antiques Roadshow

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have been told the history of some of their antiques for a special episode of the Antiques Roadshow.

The BBC TV show's experts told the Royal couple the stories behind items from the royal collections at Hillsborough Castle, County Down.

Among the pieces on show was a small, bronze sculpture of a horse and jockey by French artist Pierre Jules Mene.

It is believed to be of the 1863 Derby winner Macaroni.

Special episode

The history of the work, and the race, stirred interest after the experts revealed the Epsom winner took home the spoils after 32 false starts.

"It sounds very incompetent doesn't it?" the Queen said. "But quite interesting."

Image copyright Brian Lawless
Image caption The Queen heard the story behind a small, bronze sculpture of a horse and jockey by French artist Pierre Jules Mene. The sculpture is believed to be of 1863 Derby winner Macaroni.

The Queen and Prince Philip were filmed discussing several items with specialists from the popular show at Hillsborough Castle, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, before hundreds of people gathered there on Thursday to have items valued for the special episode. No value was put on the royal items.

The County Down home has been part of the Historic Royal Palaces group since April and is now open to the public.

Image copyright Aaron McCracken/Harrisons 07778 373 486
Image caption Prince Philip was keen to know when the show featuring the items would be transmitted

Prince Philip was keen to find out when their discussions with the experts would air.

The Queen turned from signing the visitors' book to add: "If it is in August then even better because we might have a chance to see it."

The Royal couple were also shown a George IV library table, one of a pair kept at Hillsborough; an 18th century Chinese soup tureen and five figurines from a Meissen monkey orchestra.

One of the pieces was a Wagga Wagga stick that was given to the Queen on her tour of Australia in 1954. There is no explanation of how the Aboriginal fighting club ended up in Hillsborough.

The Antiques Roadshow's Paul Atterbury, an expert in miscellaneous items, John Axford, an expert in ceramics and the Far East, and Hilary Kay, also an expert in miscellaneous items, introduced the items and spent about 10 minutes with the Royal couple.

Image copyright Brian Lawless
Image caption The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh signed the castle's visitors' book after filming was complete

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