Following in Philip's tracks! Duchess practices her carriage driving
Following in Prince Philip’s tracks! Duchess of Edinburgh practices her carriage driving in Windsor Park – after her late father-in-law ‘tried to teach her’ in the early days of her marriage
- Duchess of Edinburgh, 53, cut a casual figure in jeans and a baseball cap
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The Duchess of Edinburgh was all smiles as she completed some carriage driving practice around Windsor Park this afternoon.
The mother-of-two, 58, cut a casual figure as she indulged in her late father-in-law’s favourite sport.
Prince Philip – who passed away at the age of 99 in April 2021 – took up carriage driving in 1973 when a wrist injury forced him to stop playing polo.
For the next 50 years, the late royal developed a passion for the sport – even helping to write the official rule-book and successfully campaigning for Britain to host the world championship in the 1980s.
In his later years, Prince Philip was often spotted practicing his carriage driving in the grounds of Windsor Park – where Sophie was pictured today,
The Duchess of Edinburgh was pictured practicing her carriage riding in Windsor Great Park this afternoon
Prince Edward’s wife looked completely at ease in the driver’s seat of the carriage.
Dressed in a waterproof jacket and blue jeans, Sophie – who officially became the Duchess of Edinburgh last month – wore a practical pair of knee-high brown riding boots.
She then covered her blonde hair with a Royal Windsor Horse Show branded baseball cap.
She was joined by two women, who were seated behind her in the carriage and appeared to work for the Windsor estate.
At Prince Philip’s memorial in April 2022, Sophie explained how Prince Philip taught her carriage driving in the early days of her marriage to his son Prince Edward – who she married in 1999.
However, she joked that the late royal instead chose to focus his attention on her daughter Lady Louise, 19, who displayed a natural talent for the sport.
She explained: ‘He was so pleased when she took the sport up because I took it up… I was okay. Well I was really at the beginning of my carriage driving career when I fell pregnant with Louise.
‘So I then had to sort of hang up the reins. So I was really delighted when she decided she wanted to have a go.
Prince Philip pictured at Windsor Horse Show in May 2003 after competing in the carriage driving category
The Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Philip pictured together in September 2016. At his memorial, Sophie explained how her late father-in-law taught her how to carriage drive in the early days of her marriage
Sophie was joined by two women, who were seated behind her in the carriage and appeared to work for the Windsor estate
‘And my father in law was always so good at encouraging her.
‘So when she not only said, “please can I have a go?” and then showed a flair for it, he was just brilliant with her.’
Opening up about Louise’s close relationship with Philip, Sophie added: ‘They used to chat away about it and he would always turn up if she was competing in the Great Park, he would always turn up and watch her and watch her training days.’
Lady Louise in particular enjoyed a close bond with the late Duke of Edinburgh.
The teen, who is 15th in line to the throne, is an accomplished carriage driver, having followed her grandfather into the sport and her mother has said how she gained a ‘great passion’ and a ‘natural curiosity’ from Philip.
Lady Louise Windsor pictured competing in the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May 2022 – one year after her grandfather’s passing
Prince Philip pictured in May 2019 attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The late royal took up carriage driving in the 1970s
Prince Philip reportedly left his granddaughter his green carriage and two ponies in his will.
Last April, Lady Louise competed in the British Indoor Carriage Driving Championships.
She finished sixth in the junior novice class at the event in Grantham, Lincolnshire, at the weekend.
The late royal raced carriages near Norfolk before going on to represent Britain at several world and European championships.
In May 2017, Prince Philip spoke about how he took up carriage driving when he stopped playing polo at the age of 50.
He said: ‘I was looking round to see what next, I didn’t know what there was available.
‘And I suddenly thought, well, we’ve got horses and carriages so why don’t I have a go.
‘So I borrowed four horses from the stables in London, took them to Norfolk and practised and thought – why not?’
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