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Bidding Adieu to an Extraordinary Polo Advocate: Prince Philip

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died April 9 at 99 years old at Windsor Castle. The loss was felt around the world, as well as deeply in the polo community, of which he was a lifelong player, fan and supporter.

He was born simply Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1921 in Greece. The son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenburg, the young prince and his family were exiled from Greece when he was only 18-months old. A tumultuous childhood – he was estranged from both of his parents, he was shuffled constantly between extended relatives and endured the loss of his favorite sister in a plane crash – ensued. Although he was related to nearly every royal court in Europe – either directly or distantly – he was a prince without a kingdom.

As a result, Prince Philip spent his adult life, as consort to the queen, working hard behind the scenes to keep the monarchy of Great Britain relevant and popular. Prior to his marriage to then-Princess Elizabeth, he adopted the English surname Mountbatten and renounced his titles to the Greek and Danish royal courts. It was the first time in his life he had a full name and family; as a young boy, he was famously quizzed at boarding school about his name, to which he replied, “Philip.” The students insisted, “Philip what?” Somewhat annoyed, he responded, “It’s just Philip,” as it was the custom of European royalty to not use surnames at the time.

He was an avid outdoorsman and shared a love of horses with his wife, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As a young man, being groomed for his position as royal consort, he spent considerable time on the polo field.

Years later, he joked about being too old to play the sport, but actively attended matches and groomed his sons and grandsons in the way of the Sport of Kings. His memory will long live on.


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