TV PRESENTER Alan Titchmarsh compared the Queen to Nelson Mandela during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations broadcast on ITV on Sunday night. 

The 70-year celebrations kicked off with a star-studded equestrian extravaganza at an area near Windsor Castle, featuring Hollywood actors Tom Cruise and Dame Helen Mirren, narrator Omid Djalili as well as gardener Titchmarsh.

The event was staged by the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Queen appeared to enjoy the show and its finale, which saw her own horses and ponies led around the open-air arena.

As Titchmarsh gave his contribution to the event, he said “our identity, heart and soul is embodied by Her Majesty the Queen”.

The National:

The writer told presenters Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham: “This is a remarkable year, 70 years for a remarkable woman whom I’ve met quite a lot and been bowled over by because she’s such ferociously good company.

“She has enormous quiet charisma like Nelson Mandela did, he had a kind of grace and the Queen’s the same."

He went on: “If we don’t know our own family history, we know hers and she in a way shares her lineage with us and her history is our history, and that matters to us. Whether we’re conscious of it or not.”

READ MORE: What the Platinum Jubilee book for school kids says about Scotland and the Union

South African anti-apartheid revolutionary Mandela endured 27 years in prison after opposing the country's cruel system, before going on to become the first black president in the first free and fair democratic election.

Anti-monarchy campaigners Republic criticised the veteran broadcaster for his choice of comparison.

The National:

Nelson Mandela visits Glasgow, 1993

"This is where fawning just becomes offensive," Republic said. "Imagine thinking there was any comparison between the Queen and Nelson Mandela."

Activist and political commentator Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu also hit out at the gardening expert. She said: "Comparing the Queen to Nelson Mandela is not only obtuse but an outright insult.

"Mandela sacrificed his life & liberty for his people - oppressed by the White Supremacy [the] British Monarchy upholds.

"The Queen could not walk in Mandela’s shadow."

READ MORE: M&S launches Union flag coated Connie the Caterpillar cake for Queen's Jubilee

As journalist Kevin Macguire pointed out the comparison made during the show, which he described as a "grovel fest", some supporters of the monarchy took the opportunity to attack him.

Former Ukip leader Henry Bolton OBE told the Mirror associate editor: “Unlike you @Kevin_Maguire, Nelson Mandela had huge respect for Queen Elizabeth, and he’d be immensely uncomfortable at you using his name in your insecure, chip on the shoulder campaign to undermine our monarchy.”