The Duke of Edinburgh will be laid to rest at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle at the weekend – and his love of carriage-driving and ponies will be a poignant feature of his funeral.
Prince Philip's most recent carriage – which he used for riding around Windsor and other royal estates and designed himself – and his beloved ponies will make an appearance on Saturday.
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The polished dark green four-wheeled carriage, accompanied by two of Philip’s grooms, will stand in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle as the duke’s coffin is carried past in a procession on a Land Rover hearse – which Philip also had a hand in designing.
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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.
It can seat four people at maximum capacity and can harness up to eight horses. It 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.
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.
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The Duke's ponies will play a special role at his funeral
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.
Philip, who passed away at the age of 99 on Friday, April 9, was synonymous with carriage driving. He loved nothing more than to go haring through the countryside at high speed, whip in hand, in a horse-drawn wheeled carriage.
"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.
Philip was a huge fan of carriage driving
Philip even taught his daughter-in-law, the Countess of Wessex, how to play and his granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor, 17, has taken up the sport.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex recalled some of the scrapes Philip got into while carriage-driving around the Windsor estate when paying tribute earlier in the week.
Sophie said Philip had been "pulled out of a few ditches here I seem to remember as well". Laughing, Edward said: "In the early days, yes, he used to have a few problems." Sophie added: "More recently too."
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