Prince Philip 'greatly missed' by carriage driving friends

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Prince Philip helped to standardise the international rules for the sport

The Duke of Edinburgh will be greatly missed by his friends in the carriage driving community, a fellow competitor has said.

Prince Philip was known for his love of the sport and has been credited with bringing it to the UK.

Rowena Moyse from Gowerton, Swansea, competed at the same events as the duke and said it was somewhere he could "relax amongst friends".

"It was very much the love of his life," she added.

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Image caption,
Prince Philip helped to standardise the international rules for the sport

Speaking in 2020, she said: "One of the last memories I have of him is sitting in his car [at an event], leaning out of the window with his head on his arm fast asleep amongst the crowd of carriage drivers.

"There was no security around him. It was just nice to see him able to be in that situation... the fact that he could relax amongst friends.

"I've even been on the dance floor alongside him dancing away. He was just very relaxed and just like any other competitor there."

She said at events he was treated "just like any other competitor there".

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"People would leave him alone," she said previously.

"They wouldn't bother him... he had enough of that the rest of the time.

"Sometimes he'd be helicoptered in to compete and you knew it wasn't a show of wealth, it was because he had just been to an official engagement and it was the only way he could get there to do the competition."

Image caption,
The duke discovered carriage driving after giving up polo

Ms Moyse, who owns South Wales Carriage Driving Centre, has many fond memories of snatched conversations with the duke: "One time I remember I was walking the cones course and I was measuring out with my feet how wide the cones were, just checking the width.

"I hadn't noticed him behind me and he said 'what are you doing there?' and I said 'I know how many feet I have between them when I do them at home'.

"He promptly started measuring them with his own big wellies on to see how many of his wellied feet were between the cones."

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Image caption,
Rowena Moyse competed in many of the same events as the Duke of Edinburgh

Another time she teased him about his dirty knees: "I happened to be amongst a group that were around the royal lorries.

"Prince Philip was there getting something out of the back of a Land Rover and he knocked his knee on the tow hitch and he said 'oh I'm always doing that, I've got oil all over it now' and I just said without thinking 'well it matches the other one now because the other knee was already covered in oil'.

"And you don't sort of suddenly think 'oh goodness me, I just spoke to Prince Philip' it was just a perfectly natural thing to say and that's what it was like having him around at the competitions."

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Image caption,
The duke carriage driving in the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2002

The duke discovered carriage driving at the age of 50 after giving up polo: "I was looking around to see what was next," he told Horse and Hound in 2017.

"I suddenly thought 'we have horses and carriages, so why don't I have a go at driving'.

"So I borrowed four horses from the stables in London, took them to Norfolk and practised."

He introduced international carriage driving to the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1971.

In 1982, he produced the handbook Competition Carriage Driving, which included explanations of the construction of carriages and harnesses, advice on preparation of the three phases of driving events, as well as personal anecdotes.

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Image caption,
The duke competing at the Sandringham Country show Horse Driving Trials held on the Norfolk Estate in 2005

In later years, Ms Moyse enjoyed watching him introduce the next generation of royals to the sport.

"I've seen him with his granddaughter, Lady Louise, taking her around the obstacles, giving her a ride round with a pair of ponies."

Ms Moyse said she would always be thankful to the duke: "He established it. If it wasn't for him we wouldn't have had the sport.

"All I do is a direct result from his passion of bringing carriage driving to this country…. I'm very grateful he did.

"If anyone asks me what I do I say, 'it's what Prince Philip did'. We will all miss him greatly - he will be greatly missed."