Prince Philip reveals how his love for carriage driving began

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The Duke of Edinburgh speaks to fellow driving competitor Misdee Wrigley Miller at this year's Royal Windsor Horse Show about his involvement in the sport — and how it has developed into what it is today

1971 — Prince Philip decided to give up playing polo at the age of 50. “I was looking around to see what was next, and I suddenly thought, we have horses and carriages, so why don’t I have a go at driving,” he says. “So I borrowed four horses from the stables in London, took them to Norfolk and practised.” He used bay horses from the Royal Mews, with the keen co-operation of the crown equerry Lt Col Sir John Miller, and soon ensured that carriage driving was firmly attached to the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

1973 — In only his second driving competition, Prince Philip took part in the European Championships at Windsor, where he had to retire with a bent axle in the last hazard of the marathon. During his time as the president of the FEI (1964-1986) Prince Philip was instrumental in helping to standardise the international rules for driving.

1982 — In the 1982 World Championships in Holland Prince Philip finished sixth overall out of 39 entries and in the same year he was the overall winner at Windsor. He represented Britain in a total of three European Championships and six World Championships. “I didn’t have a favourite phase,” he says. “You just had to get through them. They were all fun. It so happened that I always did rather well at dressage, but I never managed at the obstacles very well.”

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1982 — Prince Philip produced the handbook ‘Competition Carriage Driving’, which included explanations of the construction of carriages and harnesses, advice on preparation of the three phases of driving events, as well as personal anecdotes.

Don’t miss our full report from the Royal Windsor Horse Show, in tomorrow’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (18 May 2017)