• Italy's news in English
Siena Palio snubs British Queen's birthday invite
Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 in April. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

Siena Palio snubs British Queen's birthday invite

The Local · 21 Jan 2016, 11:21

Published: 21 Jan 2016 11:21 GMT+01:00

Queen Elizabeth II will turn 90 on April 21st and royal party planners extended the invitation to jockeys of the Palio in November.

Planners hoped they would come and parade for the Queen, who is renowned for her love of all things equestrian.

The jockeys of the 17 contrade – the wards of the city who compete in each race – were reportedly eager to accept the invite but eventually, organizers declined the invitation over logistical concerns.

“It was mostly for organizational issues, as well as ethical ones,” Siena Mayor Bruno Valentini told La Stampa.

Italian media sources report that Palio officials were concerned that it would not be possible to erect a temporary structure large enough to do justice to the Palio's history.

The race, which started in its modern form in 1656, is held twice a year on July 2nd and August 16th, and only lasts about 90 seconds. Riding bareback, the jockeys circle the Piazza del Campo three times.

“The theatre of the Palio is the piazza,” explained a spokesperson for the Magistrate of the Contrade, the group that oversees the Palio's organization. “Outside of that space it doesn't make any sense.”

Although it is not feasible to send the Palio's horses to England, Valentini said the Queen was always welcome to come and watch the event live in Siena.

“If she would like to see the Palio she needs to come here. Perhaps she can even visit our museum dedicated to the contrade,” the mayor said.

Story continues below…

“We would formally like to invite her to Siena, where she can watch the event directly from the window of our town hall.”

The city is no stranger to visitors from the court of England, with the Queen's late sister, Princess Margaret, once being a royal guest during the Palio.  

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
And Lonely Planet's 3rd 'must visit' Europe destination is...
This Italian town is a 'must see' this year. Photo: Gatnau/Flickr

Drumroll, please.

Plush Sardinian resort serves Harrods with eviction notice
Harrods has been told it cannot open in Sardinia this year. Photo: Rick Payette/Tony Sheng/Hl_1001/Flickr

“Everybody, including Harrods, needs to obey the same rules."

Italian football hooligan gets 26 years for rival fan's murder
Daniele De Santis has been found guilty of killing a Napoli fan ahead of the Italian Cup final in 2014. Photos: Rome police/AFP

Daniele De Santis, a Roma 'ultra' and right-wing militant, was on Tuesday found guilty of killing 31-year-old Ciro Esposito.

GO! Italians asked to vote on coveted Monopoly locations
Photo: Jonathan Lin/Flickr

The classic board game is getting an Italian makeover - and you can have a say in how the finished board looks.

Meredith Kercher's convicted killer gets 36 hours of freedom
Rudy Guede has been granted 36 hours temporary release from prison. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/The Local

Rudy Guede, the man currently serving a 16-year jail sentence for the 2008 murder of 21 year old British exchange student Meredith Kercher, has been given 36 hours of temporary release from prison as a reward for good behaviour.

Largest show of Banksy's works opens in Rome
An exhibition featuring 120 works by Banksy has opened in Rome. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP

But will the elusive artist put in an appearance?

Over 2,000 stricken migrants rescued in the Mediterranean
More than 2,000 people have been rescued in the Mediterranean. Photo: Ricardo Garcia Vilanova/AFP

So far this year more than 34,000 people have been brought to the Italian coast after being rescued off Libya.

Alleged Portuguese, Russian 'spies' arrested in Rome
A senior Portuguese intelligence officer has been arrested in Rome along with a Russian. Photo: Raffaele Esposito

A source close to the case said the secrets allegedly passed on concerned the European Union and Nato, of which Portugal is a member.

How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
Anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone was murdered in 1992. Photo: Gerard Fouet/AFP

Monday marked the 24th anniversary since the Sicilian judge and anti-mafia campaigner, Giovanni Falcone, was assassinated after a bomb was placed under his car on a highway near the town of Capaci.

Euro 2016
Pirlo and Balotelli missing as Conte finetunes Italy squad
Antonio Conte has cut cut several Euro 2016 hopefuls from a preliminary squad. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/AFP

It now looks certain that neither Andrea Pirlo or Mario Balotelli will feature at Euro 2016.

Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
How Italy's richest region is feeling the migrant strain
Rome mulls 'metro museum' after new line unearths ruin
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
Why talk of barriers is opening up old wounds in South Tyrol
Huge Roman villa found under Amalfi church set to open
Two men kicked off plane in what captain calls 'racist act'
Meet the expats making a career out of Italian food
'Staying single is why I'm the world's oldest person'
Where can you find the best beaches in Italy?
The ultimate guide to the insanity of driving in Italy
Eight of Rome's most tantalizing foreign food gems
Migrant arrivals in Italy top 30,000 for 2016: navy
Italy’s deadliest earthquakes over the last 100 years
US passports now need six months validity for Italy
Six incredible ways Italy profoundly changed my life
Cheese, wine and family: the Italian way to live beyond 100
7 breathtaking alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Long-term Brit in Italy barred from EU vote vows to fight on
Why Italian merry widows perk up after husbands die
jobs available