THE DUKE of Edinburgh was an accomplished all-round sportsman with a particular passion for polo and carriage driving.

A skilled equestrian, his love for horses remained a steadfast and lifelong passion for Prince Philip.

Even in his retirement Prince Philip continued to accompany the Queen to the Royal Windsor Polo Cup at Egham. 

Prince Philip loved polo and played into his 50s, but having “watched and played with several elderly gentlemen who seemed determined to go on playing until they dropped dead in the saddle”, he decided that the best ploy would be to retire gracefully from the game.

The love of working with horses ran deep and Prince Philip developed a new passion – carriage driving.

Stourbridge News:

The Duke of Edinburgh drives through a water obstacle during the Famous Grouse National Carriage Driving Championships at Windsor (PA)

His enthusiasm for the sport shone through every page of the book he wrote on the subject, 30 Years On and Off the Box Seat, which was published in 2004 when the Prince was 82.  

In the book he states: “I am getting old, my reactions are getting slower, and my memory is unreliable, but I have never lost the sheer pleasure of driving a team through the British countryside.

“I have been fortunate to have had a longer innings than most, and I have no intention of giving up while I have a team of willing ponies and dedicated staff and while I can still cope with the challenges which carriage driving presents me with. What happens next is anyone’s guess.”

He was still competing eight years later when he turned 90.

A passion for horses runs throughout the Royal Family. The Queen loves horse racing, as did the Queen Mother.

Anne, Princess Royal, was a talented equestrian who won  a gold medal at the 1971 European Eventing Championship, and two silver medals in the 1975 tournament. She represented Great Britain in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

A few years earlier, in 1971, she had been voted BBC One Sports Personality of the Year.

Her daughter, Zara Tindall, continues the family tradition, winning silver in the equestrian team event at the 2012 London Olympics.