Prince Philip, a handsome naval officer who served for 18 years, captured the heart of the young Princess Elizabeth when he was just 13 years old; in mid-1939, he would eventually meet the woman who would be his great love for the rest of his life. The owner of a particular humour, which has earned him the title of "politically incorrect" within the known norms of the royal family, and yet he remains one of the best-loved of the royal family.
Prince Philip was born on 10 June 1921, the youngest son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, who had to go into exile when Philip was only months old. Years later he would arrive in England under the tutelage of his uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten, who enrolled him in the Royal Navy, but also in the sport he had inherited from his mother: polo.
He made it as a naval officer, but his passion for polo stayed with him for many more years. He shared that same passion with his group of friends during his naval service in Malta, and later in England. He always found support in Queen Elizabeth, who was also a great horse lover. This is how Prince Philip made a name for himself in the world of polo, not because of his noble title, but because of the 5 handicap goals he was able to accumulate.
His team, Windsor Park, was crowned with the golden British Open trophy, which he received from his wife, in 1957 and 1966. It was in this last season that he had the pleasure of sharing the game with one of his great friends, Gonzalo Tanoira, whom the Prince called "Speedy".
Not surprisingly, Prince Philip visited Argentina on several occasions to play polo. In his time, he had the opportunity to play alongside Alberto Pedro Heguy, reaching the final of the Hurlingham Open together in 1966; even at that time Philip was encouraging his son Prince Charles to play the same sport, just as his uncle Lord Mountbatten had done years earlier. In honour of Philip, the main cup at the St George's Open is named the Duke of Edinburgh's Cup, which was donated by Philip in gratitude for the hospitality he received there. This tournament marks the opening of the spring polo season in the Gaucho country.
In early 1955, the Duke of Edinburgh wanted to have a place near his home to play polo, and so, with his wife's consent, he founded the Windsor Great Park club, which by 1969 would change its name to the one it bears today: Guards Polo Club. Prince Philip was president of the club until his last days.
Finally, Prince Philip retired in 1971, but this did not mean that his passion for polo diminished; he swapped the saddles for the stands, retained his love of horses and continued to drive carriages, even presiding over the Coronation Cup prize-giving for several years.
Almost a month after his passing, leaving this world at the age of 99, Prince Philip is still remembered as the polo prince, who kept his lucidity until the end and whose distinctive sense of humour was always his trademark. Today at Windsor Palace, in England and in many parts of the world, the emptiness left by one of Britain's most popular royals is felt.