Prince Philip’s ponies and carriage he designed unveiled day before his funeral

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A carriage Prince Philip designed for his funeral has been unveiled a day before the Queen bids farewell to her husband of 73 years.

The polished dark green four-wheeled carriage will stand in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle on Saturday as the duke's coffin is carried past in a procession on a Land Rover hearse.

It was Philip's most recent carriage, which he began using at the age of 91 for riding around Windsor and other royal estates.

With the carriage will be the duke's two black Fell ponies – Balmoral Nevis and Notlaw Storm – who were both were born in 2008.

Balmoral Nevis was bred by the Queen, with Fell ponies being an endangered breed.

Made of aluminium and steel, the carriage was built to the duke's specifications eight years ago, drawing on his knowledge of FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale) driving.

The carriage can seat four people at maximum capacity and can harness up to eight horses.

It also has two padded black leather seats and a clock mounted on brass at the front, which features an inscription commemorating the gift of the timepiece.

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The clock was presented to Philip by the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars on October 25 1978 to mark his 25 years as their Colonel-in-Chief.

Philip, who died a week ago aged 99, was synonymous with carriage-driving and had been designing them since the 1970s.

"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," he explained in the book he wrote about the sport.

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He was forced to give up polo at the age of 50 in 1971 due to what he called his "dodgy" arthritic wrist and decided to find a new sport to concentrate on.

"I suppose I could have left it at that, but I have never felt comfortable as a spectator," he admitted.

Tennis, golf and squash were no good for his wrist and sailing would have taken him away from home at weekends.

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"It then suddenly occurred to me that this carriage-driving might be just the sport," Philip said.

The duke, as president of the International Equestrian Federation, had initiated drafting the first international rules for carriage-driving in 1968, which sparked an interest in the sport.

Philip began training himself, starting with five bays from the Royal Mews and a four-in-hand driver at Sandringham with help from Major Tommy Thompson, former riding master of the Household Cavalry.

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He began his competitive career in 1973.

In 1980 he was a member of the victorious British team at the world carriage-driving championships held at Windsor and of the UK's bronze medal-winning team in the European championships in Switzerland the following year.

He eventually retired from the sport in 2003 in his early 80s when many his age had ceased to be involved with competitive sports decades ago.

  • Prince Philip
  • Queen
  • Royal Family

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