Equestrianism and The Royal Family
Equestrianism has long been a favourite pastime of the British Royal Family, and under the guidance of Queen Elizabeth II it has become a staple part of Royal life. Many members of the Royal Family now participate in equestrianism as a hobby, while some members are professional horse riders. Although equestrianism has always been associated with the British Royal Family, it’s only through Queen Elizabeth’s dedication and diligence that it is once again a fixed part of the British public’s life.
The Royal Windsor Horse Show
One of the annual highlights for the British Royal family is the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which takes place over five days either in the month of May or June. The Royal Windsor Horse Show is a relatively new event, but has become extremely popular not just with the British public but with people from all over the world. The Royal Windsor Horse Show consists of a number of equestrian related events such as Horse Jumping and Dressage. The event is attended by Queen Elizabeth II, who is the patron of the event, in addition to many other members of the Royal Family.
History of the Royal Windsor Horse Show
King George VI set up the Royal Windsor Horse Show Club in 1943, which were the first steps to this event becoming an annual occurrence. The idea was to hold horse shows in order to raise money and support for the various charities the Royal Family support. King George VI was the event’s first patron and the very first Royal Windsor Horse Show was held on the 27th of May 1944. It list of attendees including the King and Queen as well as the extended Royal Family and Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) won the Single Private Driving contest with Hans her pony while Princess Margaret won another contest (Wartime Utility Driving Class). The Royal Windsor Horse Show was a massive success and raised a substantial amount for the chosen charities. Following this King George VI decided that the Royal Windsor Horse Show should become an annual event in hopes that it would grow bigger on a yearly basis as would the charitable contributions. In 1952 Elizabeth became the Queen of England and with it the patron of the event. Due to her involvement with the Royal Windsor Horse Show during the earlier years of her life, Queen Elizabeth II has a special connection with the event and it is believed to be one of the highlights of the Royal Family’s calendar.
The Royal Windsor Horse Show Today
Queen Elizabeth II continues to attend the Royal Windsor Horse Show, and her husband The Duke of Edinburgh often competes in the a number of the carriage driving fixtures. In 2008, Her Majesty presented The Duke of Edinburgh with a special award to commemorate his long-standing commitment to the event. The Royal Horse Society’s Queen Medal for Services to Equestrianism is the highest award one can receive in the world of equestrianism and related sports. Today the event hosts a large number of equestrian related competitions over a five-day schedule. The public are invited to attend and tickets are very reasonably priced. The Horse Show is an extremely popular event in Britain and every year is fully booked. Horse trainers from all over the world enter into the various competitions, and attendees are able to see a wide range of and pony breeds, all of which are competing at world-class level. Many families attend the event and watch the contests, and members of the Royal Family often compete.
Competing Royal Family Members
The best-known Royal Family equestrian competitor is easily Queen Elizabeth II, who competed in a number of events during her earlier years. As mentioned above Queen Elizabeth II competed in events during the very first Royal Windsor Horse Show. Her daughter Anne, Princess Royal is well known for competing in three-day event horse riding competitions and began her professional career in 1971 at Badminton, where she placed in fifth position. In the same year The Princess Royal came first at the European Championship, which was held at Burghley. Anne also famously went on to compete in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. The second-eldest grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II, and the daughter of Anne The Royal Princess, Zara Phillips is a highly respected equestrian and won the Event World Championship in 2006, the highest competition in the world of sports horse riding. In addition to winning this prestigious competition, Zara Phillips has also won the gold medal for individual and team competitions at the European Eventing Championship in 2005, and gold individual and silver team medals FEI World Equestrian Games that were held in 2006 in Aachen, Germany.
Many of the male members of British Royal Family are keen polo players, and it is a tradition past downed from uncles to nephews, and fathers to sons. The Prince of Wales has one of the best records as a polo player in the history of the Royal Family. In 1972 Charles played for Young England team during a game at the Smith’s Lawn grounds, and continued to play until his retirement in 2005. Both of the Prince of Wales’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, are enthusiastic players and it is safe to assume that the two princes will pass their love of the sport on to William’s son, Prince George.
The British Royal Family have a long standing relationship with equestrianism and all forms of horse riding. The majority of the Royal Family participates in various horse central sports and there are quite a few respected professionals among them. Queen Elizabeth is key to this appreciation, and has always encouraged and made it possible for her children and grandchildren to engage in equestrianism. Her love for professional competitive horse riding had lead to the continued success of the Royal Windsor Horse Show, and made it one of the most important dates in the equestrian calendar.