Polo bids adieu to Britain’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II
After more than seven decades of service, and more than 95 years of an extraordinary life dedicated to duty towards the citizens of the UK, and countless charities, polo patron Queen Elizabeth II passed away on 8 September 2022 at her beloved country residence, Balmoral Castle.
The world is saddened beyond words and is mourning the loss of the longest-reigning monarch of the UK, Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother). Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister was Princess Margaret. Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, making the ten-year-old Princess Elizabeth the heir presumptive. She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in 2021. They had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
She was 25 when she ascended the British throne after her loving father, King George VI, succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 56. Queen Elizabeth with the crown on her coronation was a majestic sight to behold. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was the first televised coronation in history. Now, as a chapter in British history turns, Queen Elizabeth’s son, Prince Charles will succeed her.
Queen Elizabeth’s family tree is deeply intertwined with that of British royal history, and will therefore her death will mark a momentous event.
Queen Elizabeth in Britain, India and Beyond
Apart from her ceremonial duties, her philanthropic contributions around the globe have been well known. From civic issues to community charities, The Queen has been a patron to more than five hundred of these. With the responsibility of also being the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen travelled a lot. The Queen, along with the Duke of Edinburgh, visited India in January 1961 in the city of Udaipur and the royal family of Udaipur acted as principal hosts.
Her Majesty was also the chief guest for the Republic Day parade in Delhi in the same year.
The Queen contributed greatly to the universe of Polo and was a great supporter of Royal Sport where she was papped many times donning her famous polo looks with bright colourful skirts, while gloves and majestic pearls. The sport of polo has been a part of the Royal Family's history dating back many generations, from the Queen Mother to Princess Charlotte. Almost all of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren are in some form or the other involved in the realm of polo.
Her love affair with horses and riding dates back to her childhood when Queen Mother would take her to Polo matches, which perfectly passed down to her son King Charles. It is also said that Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI was an avid follower of the sport. Following his mother’s death, King Charles said in a statement: ‘The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.” The Queen and her son, now King Charles III of The UK shared a love for riding; he would go on to play polo and she rode horses until the last years of her life. Years before, when Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh still played polo, Queen Elizabeth’s young family would accompany him to his matches.
The mother-son duo has been clicked countless times at numerous polo events sharing a laugh or thoroughly enjoying the royal sport. The Queen was the patron of one of the finest Polo Clubs in the world, including The Guards Polo Club, which was founded by her late husband His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
The club hosted Her Majesty regularly at the Smith’s lawn ever since it was founded in 1955. Interestingly, Indian Royalty such as the Maharaja of Jaipur, and HH Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur has been a member of the Guards Polo Club ever since they played a competitive match in England in 2015.
Amongst such, the prestigious 22-goal tournament the Queen’s Cup, named in her honor is Britain's poshest Polo event put up by Cartier which hosts 500 tournaments every season annually. Apart from several contributions to charity matches like this, associations like the USPA (US Polo Association) have been partnering with the palace on its philanthropic missions through Polo tournaments in the US and the UK.
After Queen Elizabeth’s husband's death in 2021, she became a shadow of her former self. Without her ‘strength and stay’, she was a sombre version of herself. In her last months, Queen Elizabeth’s health began declining rapidly. Queen Elizabeth died at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, in September 2022, at the age of 96, leaving a remarkable legacy behind.
After the benchmark contributions of Her Majesty to the world of Polo, we hope to see the Royal successors walk a similar path and continue carrying forward the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.