Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty
Simon Perry
May 14, 2016 03:05 PM

As Queen Elizabeth II settles in to watch a tremendous display of horses at the Royal Windsor Horse Show on Sunday, she will probably be at her happiest.

With her family, including Prince William, Princess Kate and Prince Harry, around her, she will be celebrated with a display of splendid horsemanship, carriage-riding and entertainment that celebrates the 90 years of her life.

Alongside her, as he has been almost constantly for nearly seven decades, will be her husband Prince Philip.

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“They are probably doing more stuff together now than they’ve ever done. She looks incredibly happy these days,” said Robert Hardman, writer of Queen at 90, which will air on the Smithsonian Channel on Sunday.

“She’s a lot more smiley,” he continued. “It’s no doubt partly because the whole family and the institution is strong and contented, but a lot of it is down to him.”

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“When we filmed the Queen getting on the night train to Birmingham, what you didn’t see on the film was [Philip] arrived in black tie as he’d come direct from an event,” Hardman said. “But he obviously wanted to be alongside the Queen on an away day. On those occasions she really does like having him around. She’s always happiest at an engagement with him. If there’s a big walkabout or reception every now and then she’ll look where’s he got to, what he’s up to and he’ll be doing the same.”

Away from their formal life, friends say they both have an interest paintings of wildlife, which they like to collect together. While carriage driving remains a hobby of his (he doesn t do it competitively any more) horse-racing is hers – and they are both likely looking forward to the upcoming Royal Ascot races in June.

These are relatively simple pleasures, joining others like gardening, family and a shared love of animals, especially dogs.

“He makes her laugh. He is the only person who can tell her how things really are,” Hardman added. “As she has broken all these records and become a more revered figure that makes that all the more important. He’s someone who can be frank and someone she can have a laugh with.”

And coming up next year there will be more laughter – and celebrations – as they mark their 70th wedding anniversary in November 2017.

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