Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen’s consort for almost 70 years, has died at the age of 99.
While never an owner in racing himself, he had been an honorary member of the Jockey Club since 1947 and was a regular companion of the Queen at Royal Ascot.
A statement issued by the royal family read: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course.
“The royal family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”
The Duke of Edinburgh Handicap is staged at the royal meeting each year, but one of the Duke’s most enjoyable tasks at Ascot was when presenting the Queen’s Vase to Her Majesty after Estimate won in 2012.
Sir Francis Brooke Bt, Her Majesty’s representative at Ascot, said in a statement: “We extend our deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family at this time.
“We have very happy memories of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at Ascot where he accompanied Her Majesty The Queen on so many occasions and shared in her successes.
“One of the most memorable moments was in 2012 when His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh presented Her Majesty The Queen with the Queen’s Vase after Estimate’s victory.”
Estimate would go on to win the Gold Cup at Ascot the following year, providing the Queen with one of her greatest victories as an owner.
Two minutes silence was observed prior to day two of the Randox Grand National Festival at Aintree, while all jockeys sported black armbands.
In his role as a pundit for ITV Racing, 20-time champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy paid his tribute.
McCoy said: “First and foremost my deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal family.
“I was very lucky to spend time in Prince Philip’s company at Windsor Castle. He was a very interesting man and a really good polo player in his younger days.
“He was really keen on carriage driving and really good at it as well.
“A moment that really stands out for me was when he presented Her Majesty the Queen with the Queen’s Vase when Estimate in 2012 – I can remember thinking that was a special moment, probably for Her Majesty, but also for horse racing as well.”
Leading trainer Nicky Henderson, who has trained many horses for the Queen, said: “It was an enormous shock and it’s a very sad day. I know the whole nation’s condolences go to Her Majesty.
“Prince Philip has been a remarkable man and Her Majesty’s absolute stalwart for so many years. He has served this country and served Her Majesty so well.
“I know racing wasn’t his favourite sport, but I know he enjoyed many other equestrian activities.
“It was a wonderful life of serving our Queen and country and I think we should all be saying an enormous thank you for what he’s done.”