Prince Philip was Longest Serving President of FEI–International Equestrian Federation–for 22 Years

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April 9, 2021

Prince Philip, who died Friday at the age of 99, was the longest serving president of the FEI–International Equestrian Federation–for 22 years and succeeded in the post by his daughter, Princess Anne, for eight years.

The death of the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle outside London was announced by Buckingham Palace.

Some of his greatest sporting achievements came in the sport of driving which he introduced as a new discipline in the FEI and helped to develop during his FEI Presidency from 1964 to 1986. He helped standardize international rules and became a hugely successful competitor himself, winning team gold at the 1980 World Driving Championship and bronze in 1978, 1982 and 1984. He also placed sixth individually in 1982.

Prince Philip strongly supported the jumping Nations Cup series and hugely supportive of the launch of the jumping World Cup in the 1970s. He was also instrumental in the creation of the World Equestrian Games, having lobbied for such a competition for many years before it was finally staged for the first time in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990.

He played polo during his time in the Royal Navy in the 1940s and became one of Britain’s top-10 players. His passion for all things equestrian was shared by his wife, Queen Elizabeth II, and passed on to their children, particularly Prince Charles who was also a keen polo player, and Princess Anne. She claimed individual gold at the European Eventing Championships in 1971, and individual and team silver four years later, before becoming the first British Royal to compete at an Olympic Games when she rode in Montreal 1976.

Prince Philip’s grandchildren have also inherited a love of horse sport. Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Tindall took the Eventing world title in 2006 and was a member of the British silver medal team at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Princes William and Harry are also regularly spotted on the polo field.

Born in Corfu, Greece and educated in France, Germany and Great Britain, he joined the Royal Navy in 1939 at the age of 18. During World War ll he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets, and by the time he left the service in 1952 he had reached the rank of Commander. At the age 26, he married the then Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth ll, in November 1947.

“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, who described him as “a man of incredible energy and a great sense of humor and the FEI was honoured to have him as our longest serving President.

“His dedication to equestrian sports cannot be underestimated and will never be forgotten, especially in the driving community. He was born the same year the FEI was founded and sadly he will not be with us to celebrate his own and the FEI’s centenary this year. We will celebrate his life and remember him as a great ambassador of our sport.”