Hurlingham Polo Magazine Mourns the Loss of HRH, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and sends its deepest sympathies to HM The Queen and the House of Windsor.
April 9, 2021 marked the passing of a valiant partner, sportsman, icon and prince who defined a generation for Britons, most of whom have known his grandeur the entirety of their lives. HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh passed away peacefully in his hundredth year on this earth. HM The Queen, the Royal family and the polo world have lost a champion who displayed the same grace, fortitude and verve on the pitch we were all privy to glimpse on the world stage.
Many will talk about the prince’s penchant for innovation, countless patronages and unyielding support for HM The Queen. They will rightly wax poetic about the imposing figure who went off script to let us all know the hallowed Royal Family had a just enough of that human touch while maintaining the majesty of the Crown. In this, a forum for sport, we pay tribute to a quintessential sportsman who rode into his eighth decade and played the game of kings until the age of fifty.
Prince Philip learned the game of polo at the feet of the late Lord Mountbatten, the uncle from whom Prince Philip of Greece took his surname after becoming a royal subject under HM King George VI. It was with Lord Mountbatten at Dartmouth that a teenage girl called Lilibet first set her eyes upon a strapping young blond and was forever smitten. Over seventy-years later, the Prince Consort was the archetypal modern partner whilst displaying values of a bygone era that guided Britain through a world war. He walked two steps behind Queen Elizabeth, always with his head held high. Married in 1947, the Royal Navy Captain gave up his career in 1953 when HM The Queen ascended to the throne.
One thing the Duke of Edinburgh didn’t give up was polo. Prince Philip was a driving force behind polo’s recovery after the Second World War. In 1955 HRH was the impetus behind the founding Guards Polo Club at Smith’s Lawn, Windsor Park where he displayed his own talents and championed the sport of Kings. Among his many high-goal wins was in 1969, when HRH, was part of the first (and only) all-English team to win the Gold Cup. The five-handicap player took his mallet all over the world from Malta and India to America and Argentina. The late Prince passed on his polo talents to the future King of England, Prince Charles, and his riding talents to his first daughter, Princess Anne, an Olympic show jumper.
Said the late Duke: “I suppose every games player thinks his particular game is far better than any other I am no exception. I have no objection to others enjoying their particular game but give me polo every time.”
The Duke was a true sportsman. Among the first of his many patronages was for the National Playing Fields Association, where he championed true sporting grounds for children in low-income neighborhoods. The D-of-E scheme lives on through the ages, motivating many young Britons of all backgrounds to strive and reach for new goals and horizons. The Duke of Edinburgh brought the heart of a British lion and the pedigree of a Prince to the game of kings.
– J.M. Casper
“Wives play an extremely important part in polo. If he happens to be married his wife needs to be very understanding and long-suffering. Some lucky ones somehow managed to persuade their wives to keep, groom and train their ponies, but this ideal arrangement is understandably rare.” Rare Indeed.
– HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh 1921-2021.
Photo credit Mike Roberts