Lady Louise Windsor, the Queen’s 17-year-old granddaughter, is said to be taking the reins ‒ literally ‒ from her late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh. The daughter of Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, was taught carriage driving by Prince Philip, who passed away on April 9th, and the young royal shares his passion for the sport.
According to British tabloid Daily Mail, Louise will inherit the dark green aluminum-and-steel carriage which was made to the Duke of Edinburgh’s specifications eight years ago and will continue to drive his two ponies, Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm, on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The two Fell ponies made a somber appearance at Philip’s funeral on April 17th, pulling his carriage, with his driving cap, gloves, blanket, and even the red-lidded plastic tub he kept their sugar lump rewards in on the empty seat.
A major force in international equestrian competition, Prince Philip was president of the FEI from 1964 to 1986. He took up carriage driving in 1971 after arthritis in his wrist put paid to his polo-playing days. As a driver he won World Championship gold in 1980 with Great Britain.
He once wrote of the sport, “I am getting old, my reactions are getting slower, and my memory is unreliable, but I have never lost the sheer pleasure of driving a team through the British countryside.”
Louise has already made a mark in the competitive driving show ring, winning third in a singles carriage class at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2019 with her grandfather there to witness the event. Royal watchers also noted an equestrian-themed brooch that the teenage royal wore to the funeral as a tribute to her grandfather.
Louise’s mother Sophie has spoken in the past about her daughter’s carriage-driving talents, saying, “She is naturally so good at it, she really is. It’s something that she has taken to very well.”