Prince William joins mourners at memorial to pay respects to former polo teacher

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Prince William paid his respects at the memorial service for Claire Tomlinson, a former polo player who taught both him and brother Prince Harry how to play the sport when they were youngsters

Prince William at the memorial for his former polo teacher Claire Tomlinson
Prince William at the memorial for his former polo teacher Claire Tomlinson

Prince William joined mourners at a service of remembrance for a trailblazing former polo player who taught him how to play the sport.

The heir to the throne was at St Mary’s Church in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, on Monday to attend the service for Claire Tomlinson, a former England national team captain and coach.

Mrs Tomlinson, who also taught Prince Harry how to play polo at the Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire, died earlier this month aged 77.

William was among the 200 people who turned out at the service to remember the sportswoman earlier this week.

The church where the service was held is less than a mile away from Prince Charles’ Highgrove estate, where William and Harry spent a lot of time in their younger years.

William attended the service at St Mary’s Church in Tetbury, Gloucestershire
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Image:

Tom Wren SWNS)

William followed in his father and grandfather’s footsteps by playing polo
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Tom Wren SWNS)

The Duchess of Cambridge and their three children were not seen at the ceremony.

According to the Express those leaving the service described it as an ‘amazing’ and ‘beautiful’ tribute to Mrs Tomlinson who was the first woman to compete against male opponents in top-level or high-goal polo.

Mrs Tomlinson was friends with Charles and her sons Luke and Mark were close to William and Harry and attended both of their weddings.

Prince Charles with Claire Tomlinson at Beaufort Polo Club in 1996
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Last year Luke spoke to Gloucestershire Live about his mother’s battle with dementia ahead of a charity polo match held at the Gloucestershire club to raise money for research.

Mourners leave St Mary’s Church after a memorial service for Claire Tomlinson
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Image:

Tom Wren SWNS)

The highest-rated British female polo player on record raised three children who are all senior polo players or coaches and was reportedly asked to help William play the sport because he is left-handed – and polo mallets are held in a player’s right hand.

William went to play at a high standard like brother Harry, father Charles and his grandfather, the late Prince Philip.

A spokesman for the Hurlingham Polo Association, Britain’s governing body for polo, said: “Claire was the first woman player to reach 5-goals and was a trailblazer for women players around the world.

“She was an innovative and inspiring coach to many generations of players, including coaching England teams at every level, as well as a polo pony breeder and trainer of immense renown.

“She will be sorely missed by all who knew her but her legacy will live on through her children and grandchildren at the Beaufort Polo Club. Our thoughts are with the family.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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