Friday 30 September 2016

Damian Lewis reveals Queen's winning racing tip as Prince's Trust marks 40 years

Published 08/03/2016 | 13:56

The Queen and the Prince of Wales arrive at the Prince's Trust Centre in Kennington, London
The Queen and the Prince of Wales arrive at the Prince's Trust Centre in Kennington, London

Hollywood star Damian Lewis has revealed when you want a tip for the races there is no one better to ask than the Queen.

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The Homeland actor reminded the monarch, a passionate horse breeder and owner, how she gave him the name of a winner when they met at an event celebrating the Prince's Trust's 40th anniversary.

Lewis and his actress wife Helen McCrory, both Prince's Trust ambassadors, joked with the Queen about her prediction skills when she toured a trust centre in south London with the Prince of Wales.

The actor told the Queen: "You gave me a simply fantastic tip for Royal Ascot for which I am grateful."

McCrory described how they last chatted to the Queen in 2013 when the world of stage, screen and TV gathered at Windsor Castle, where the Queen was given an honorary Bafta.

The actress said: "The last time we were lucky enough to meet Her Majesty was actually the evening she received her Bafta," and she added with a laugh "something that both of us are still waiting for".

Her husband added that he quizzed the Queen about horses: "I asked for the Grand National because that's the only time we're there and she said 'no, no, no, that's miles away - you need tips for Royal Ascot first'.

"She gave me a tip for Royal Ascot and it came with a royal seal."

The actor could not remember the name of the horse but joked about the amount they won, saying: "It was enough for a weekly shop."

The Queen, who does not bet, has a lifelong love of horses and even whiled away her 87th birthday at the yard of a West Country trainer, casting her eye over thoroughbreds.

Her horses have also won four out of the five flat racing classics - the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger - with only the Derby eluding her.

McCrory added: "I told the Prince I'm going to do (Terence) Rattigan's The Deep Blue Sea this summer and do you fancy coming down but unfortunately I'm not doing The Goon Show, which I know is his favourite.

"We'll have to work out a jazz evening because he's such a jazz aficionado - huge."

The Prince's Trust was founded by Charles in 1976 and over the decades it has helped 825,000 vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to overcome their challenges and fulfil their potential.

The Trust runs a number of programmes like Fairbridge - which targets difficult to reach young people - or the Get Into, which helps individuals learn more about specific industries like retail.

The Queen and Charles chatted to young people who have completed the initiatives, designed to equip them with the skills, tools and confidence needed to move into work, education or training.

And they met some of the Trust's success stories - business people who now run flourishing firms.

They included Peter Higgs, who had brought a bee colony in a glass case to the centre in Kennington, to show off the bee rescue service he set up called Beegone.

Mr Higgs, 28, took pride in showing her the queen bee - "she's the one with the white dot," he said.

As he told the Queen how he rescued feral bees from chimneys, roofs and other places where they are becoming a nuisance, she said: "It must be rather fascinating."

The Queen also met Jaquaine Goodison, 16, who has been on a personal development course with the trust.

He said: "Before I was not a good guy. I was always getting into trouble. I was in a court case, and the court sent me to the programme.

"Now I've stopped hanging around with people, and started learning. I'm planning on getting a job. It has turned my life around. I would like to have my own company designing clothes."

At the end of the visit the Queen and her son cut a celebratory cake - baked by Prince's Trust supported baker La'Tifah Atkinson-Campbell - to mark the 40th anniversary of the Trust.

Martina Milburn, the Trust's chief executive, said: "For 40 years the Prince's Trust has been working to support young people because we believe that everyone deserves a chance.

"The Prince of Wales has worked tirelessly during that time to make a real difference to young people. It was a privilege to show Her Majesty some of this work."

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