Apr 12, 2021
The longest serving FEI President, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away peacefully at Windsor Castle in England. At the age of 99, the queen announced the death of his husband this past 9th of april.
Prince Philip was the longest serving FEI President. From 1964 to 1986 he strongly supported the FEI Nations Cup series and was hugely supportive of the launch of the FEI Jumping World Cup in the 70s. He helped standardise international rules and was a successful competitor himself, winning team hold at the 1980 World Driving Championship. He was succeeded in his role as the FEI President by his daughter Princess Anne.
An expert in equestrian sports, Prince Philip played polo himself during his time in the Royal Navy in the 1940s. At this time, he became one of Britain’s top-10 players. He shared his passion for the equestrian world with his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, and passed it on to their children.
He was born in Corfu, Greece. He was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, but his family was exiled from the country when he was eighteen months old. He then was educated in France, Germany and Great Britain.
With just 18 years, he joined the Royal Navy in 1939, serving during World War II in the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets. By the time he left service in 1952, he reached the rank of Commander.
After being granted permission by George VI, he married Queen Elizabeth II (at that time Princess Elizabeth) at the age of 26 in November 1947. Before this, he officially abandoned his Greek and Danish titles and became a naturalised British subject. He received the style His Royal Highness and created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.
A sports enthusiast, he helped develop equestrian events and was a patron, president or member of over 780 organisations. He retired from his royal duties by the age of 96 after completing over 20,000 solo engagements and 5,400 speeches. Prince Philip was the longest serving consort of a British monarch and the longest-lived male member of the British royal family.
Prince Philip was passionate about horses and Queen Elizabeth II also shared this passion. This passion was passed on to their children, particularly to Prince Charles who was also a polo player and to Princess Anne. She became the FEI President and claimed the individual gold at the FEI European eventing Championships in 1971, as well as the individual and team silver four years later.
Their grandchildren also inherited the love for horse sports. Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Tindall took the Eventing world title in 2006. Princes William and Harry also regularly can be spotted on the polo field.
“The passing of Prince Philip is a huge loss for equestrian sport and his legacy, particularly at the FEI, will live on for many many decades to come”, FEI president Ingmar De Vos said. “He was a man of incredible energy and a great sense of humour and the FEI was honoured to have him as our longest serving President.”
Horse TV also wants to send our deepest sympathies to the British Royal Family. The death of Prince Philip is a huge loss in the equestrian community.