Now the whole nation can breathe a sigh of relief after the new series of The Crown was released on Netflix yesterday (15 November), it would seem fitting to note just some of the many times horses have played cupid of coveted romances after we saw in a previous series the love intrigue between the Queen and ‘Porchie’ — Lord Porchester.
Let us take you through a few memorable moments in books and on the silver screen where horses have pushed the romantic narrative.
1. The Queen and Lord ‘Porchie’ Porchester — The Crown
Even if this relationship was no more than rumour, the hinted sparks between the Queen and her racing manager does provide great TV drama. Suggestions of something more than friendship are brought to the fore when they discuss their love of horse racing while visiting stud farms in France and the US.
2. Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend — The Crown
In the first season of The Crown, tension reaches fever pitch when Princess Margaret (played by Vanessa Kirby) decides to take her horse to meet Peter Townsend at the stables in secret, where they begin to have their affair.
3. Coco Chanel and Étienne Balsan — Coco Before Chanel
After Coco Chanel gets kicked out of the wealthy stable owner’s stately home in the Moulins, she finally manages to gain favour of Étienne Balsan and his friends by stealing one of his horses, riding (controversially) astride and meeting them at a woodland picnic.
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4. Jane Bennet and Mr Bingley — Pride and Prejudice
Famously, Mrs Bennet has the conniving plan to send Jane Bennet (the eldest of the Bennet sisters) on horseback instead of carriage for her visit to Mr Bingley, knowing full well this will make her ill and so assure a longer courtship.
5. Madame Bovary and Rodolphe — Madame Bovary
In the famous French novel by Gustave Flaubert, Rodolphe, Madame Bovary’s first lover suggests riding would be great pursuit and offers to lend her his horse. He finally manages to convince Madame Bovary to take to the saddle in a nearby forest. Here, Rodolphe speaks of his passion for her and she gives in to the relationship.
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