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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess
of Cornwall

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince Harry

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Sports

  • HRH The Prince of Wales
  • The Prince of Wales skiing with his son The Duke of Cambridge in Klosters
  • The Prince of Wales playing polo
  • The Prince of Wales on his horse Allibar

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The Prince of Wales had his first skiing lessons at the age of 14, in January 1963, when he was staying with Prince Ludwig of Hesse at Tarasp in Switzerland.

The young Prince had skiing holidays in Liechtenstein in 1965 and near Davos, Switzerland, in 1966.

Over the years, His Royal Highness took regular annual skiing holidays with his sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, usually visiting Klosters in Switzerland.

The Prince took up water-skiing and surfing in his teens, and during service in the Royal Navy he was introduced to aqua-lung diving. In 1974 he became President of the British Sub Aqua Club.

In July 1975 The Prince spent 47 minutes under water examining the wreck of the Mary Rose, a Tudor warship sunk off Portsmouth in 1545. The Prince was the first member of the Royal Family to see it since Henry VIII watched the ship sink.

It was the first of a number of dives The Prince made to the wreck, and he became President of the Mary Rose Trust which raised the remains of the ship in 1982 for preservation in a new museum at Portsmouth.



The Prince enjoyed sailing from early childhood, taking part in his first yacht race at Cowes Regatta with his father, The Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of eight.

The Prince windsurfed off the Isle of Wight during another visit to the Cowes Regatta in 1978.

In 1979 The Prince was given a skateboard for Christmas and after practising at Windsor, His Royal Highness was able to give a brief demonstration for a television news programme about a North London community organisation. Viewers saw The Prince ask a startled youngster: "Can I borrow your board?”


Polo


For a great deal of his adult life, The Prince of Wales was a keen and competitive polo player.

The Prince of Wales became interested in polo as a child, watching his father, The Duke of Edinburgh, play at Windsor.

In his early teens His Royal Highness played practice chukkas (a period of time in polo) at Windsor during the school holidays.

The Prince played his first game in 1963 aged 15, in a team captained by The Duke of Edinburgh and he played his first game in public in April 1964.

From then on The Prince played as regularly as he could manage, playing his first season of first class games in 1967.

His Royal Highness's handicap rose gradually from 1 in 1967 to 4 in 1982.



The main grounds on which The Prince played were Smith's Lawn in Windsor Great Park, Cowdray Park in Sussex and Cirencester Park, Gloucestershire.

His Royal Highness also played polo during visits to countries including Australia, India, the USA, France, Brazil, Kenya, Malta and Ghana.

The Prince played in many teams, including Cambridge University whilst an undergraduate, when he won his half-Blue playing against Oxford, for the Royal Navy, and in more recent years with Les Diables Bleus and the Maple Leaf.

The Prince often played with his sons The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry in the Highgrove team.  His Royal Highness played in all four positions, but usually at No 4 (back).

The Prince only played polo to raise money for charity.  For example during the year 2005-2006, he raised £900,000 taking the total over the previous 11 years to £8.4 million.

On 28th June 1990, The Prince broke his arm in two places when he fell from his pony during a match at Cirencester Park. His Royal Highness was able to return to the game the following April and played regularly up until his decision to retire in November 2005.

The Prince maintains his interest in polo and follows the sport through his two sons' continued participation.

Racing

The Prince of Wales is an accomplished horseman and in the 1980s rode in a number of competitive races.

The Prince made his debut as a jockey in 1980 at a charity race at Plumpton, East Sussex.

His Royal Highness came second on Long Wharf in the two-mile Madhatters Private Stakes on 4th March. His horse was 13-8 favourite.

Four days later at Sandown, The Prince rode in his first steeplechase, the Duke of Gloucester Memorial Trophy hunter chase.

His Royal Highness rode Sea Swell for Lambourn trainer Nick Gaselee, finishing fourth.

The Prince, familiar with jumping in the show ring, cross country team events and polo, bought his first racehorse in May 1980, Allibar, a 10-year-old bay gelding.



In one race, on 24th October 1980, at Ludlow, Shropshire, he came second in a field of 12. Sadly Allibar died of a heart attack in February 1981.

That year The Prince bought Good Prospect, a 12-year-old bay gelding who was also a steeplechaser.

The Prince rode him twice, in the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown on 13th March, and in the Kim Muir Memorial Challenge Cup at Cheltenham four days later - but fell on both occasions.

On 21st May 1981, The Prince rode in his last race, at Newton Abbot, Devon, on Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's horse Upton Grey, finishing ninth.

The Prince's racing colours were scarlet with royal blue sleeves and black cap.

In summarising his racing career, The Prince's former trainer Nick Gaselee said His Royal Highness had not been credited over the years for his racing achievement: “To come in the top four in his first three races is a record any professional jockey would be proud of, and that is despite his many other commitments at that time.”

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