Prince Edward has been appointed as the Royal Windsor Horse Show’s next president. The Earl of Wessex has big shoes to fill as he is succeeding his father the late Duke of Edinburgh.
In a statement announcing Edward’s new role, Prince Philip is described as a “hands-on” president, passionate about the Show in which he competed in the International Carriage Driving category for more than 35 years.
The late Duke was appointed president of the Show in 1991, and has been credited to have been a guiding hand for many of the showground improvements.
Speaking about taking over from his father, the Earl said: “My father was instrumental in helping to develop Royal Windsor into one of the most prestigious horse shows in the world.
“I am honoured to have been invited to become only the fourth President in the Show’s history and will do all I can to maintain the Show’s reputation throughout the equestrian community and beyond; something my father was passionate about.”
Simon Brooks-Ward, director of the Show, welcomed Edward in his new post.
He said: “We are honoured and delighted that His Royal Highness has accepted to be our President.
“He has always been involved in the event, cares deeply about its future and we know that we will be in good hands.”
Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, have been involved in the Show for years with events at all levels.
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In April 2019, the Earl and Countess were named joint vice presidents of the Show – of which the Queen is the patron.
The Show will surely be particularly close to the Wessexes’ heart as it sees their daughter Lady Louise Windsor regularly competing as a carriage driver.
Lady Louise inherited her love for carriage driving from her grandfather, who picked up this sport in his 50s after he gave up polo.
The young royal spoke about her shared passion with the Duke over carriage driving in the BBC special aired last autumn, Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers.
She said: “The Duke of Edinburgh has been so involved in my driving which has been so lovely although slightly scary because he invented the sport pretty much.
“It’s incredible to have learned first hand from him.”
Allowing royal fans to take a peek into her relationship with the late Duke, she also said: “After a competition, he would always ask how it went.
“His eyes would light up because he just gets so excited when he talks about it.
“When we would go carriage driving, he would take me on a different route every day, I do not know how he managed to do that, and tell me all sorts of anecdotes about anything and everything.”
The Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place every year on the private grounds of Windsor Castle.
The Queen, a well-known horse enthusiast, has been attending this yearly event without fail since its launch in 1943.
The Show, which attracts more than 55,000 people every year, marks the only time the castle’s grounds are opened to the public.
It includes an extensive programme of first-class equestrian competition and performances, carried out over five arenas.
To mark the Platinum Jubilee, this year the Show will also host an additional evening performance taking place over four nights.
The special event, titled “Gallop through History”, will feature more than 500 horses, 1,200 participants and an 80-piece orchestra and is set to delight royals and members of the public alike.