Riding horses is practically a requirement for royals, but Kate Middleton refuses to do her bit in the equine world. Kate, like Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, would rather watch William and Harry on horseback than saddle up herself.
The Daily Mail shared that 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth still likes to ride around her country estates, and her daughter, Princess Anne, was an Olympian in equestrian events. In Kate Middleton’s generation, Zara Tindall carried on the royal riding tradition winning Olympic equestrian medals, and the princes all play polo.
Zara Tindall was seen with her husband Mike and daughter Mia today at the Burnham Market International Horse Trials in Norfolk. pic.twitter.com/blHGBQNmkI— RoyalistSupporter (@ProRoyalFamily) April 14, 2017
Middleton shows up at events where Harry, William, and Zara are riding, but she herself has never even “been pictured on a horse.”
The Duchess does like to spend a day at the races sometimes, which was well known to be one of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s favorite horsey entertainments, to the point that some critics thought she had a gambling problem.
"When the Queen Mother died she was £4,000,000 into an overdraft with Coutts bank due to gambling debts" - Best thing I've ever heard— Jack (@JackSpringford) March 6, 2014
Kate Middleton is a patron of Action on Addiction and would be careful to limit public betting on the horses, but she appears to have a great time watching the races.
Middleton was also in the stands to support Zara during the London Olympic Games and regularly comes to cheer on William and Harry at their polo games. It’s just that the whole pony club way of life was never Kate’s idea of fun.
When Princess Diana confessed to a fear of horses, royal family observers said that was a terrible thing and nearly a deal breaker for a future Queen of England. Like many aspects of royal life, the horsey requirement has changed since Diana and Prince Charles’ disastrous marriage.
Kate tried to get into the swing of things in the early days of her marriage. Good Housekeeping via the Daily Telegraph told readers that in 2012, Middleton decided to give horseback riding a try with some private lessons fit for a princess.
Kate might have wanted to be able to join Prince William’s granny on her regular hacks around the countryside, but the riding lessons weren’t a success.
William and Harry rarely if ever go for a quiet hack. They use their riding skills entirely for the Sport of Kings, as polo is often called.
Marcia Moody is the author of Kate: A Biography, and she says the reason Middleton doesn’t ride is quite simple. Unlike those who are born royal, Kate wasn’t around horses from infancy, and they weren’t part of her childhood and everyday life.
“Kate doesn’t ride, purely because she didn’t do it growing up. William and Harry were taught from an early age, but the only time they ride now is for polo – they don’t go off on hacks like the queen always has.”
Kate Middleton is happy to take the lead from Princess Diana when it comes to her own children’s riding. Prince George and Princess Charlotte are already well into riding lessons and show every sign of enjoying it just all the princes and princesses before them.
Little Charlotte is especially excited about her equestrian fun, and she could be the third generation in a row to represent the United Kingdom at the Olympics. Kate recognizes that “Charlotte has this passion about horses and although she doesn’t echo it, she’ll do her best to champion and encourage it.”
If Meghan Markle marries Prince Harry, she will feel the pressure to join the horse-loving crowd, but she will at least have illustrious company if she chooses the sidelines. Markle is well known to be an animal lover and someone who is comfortable around four-foot companions of all kinds.
Harry’s girlfriend has two rescue dogs who will have to be rehomed if the Suits actress quits the show to move to Prince Harry’s Kensington Palace home.
Meghan loves hanging out with friends’ dogs too.
There are no pics of Meghan Markle on a horse, just as there aren’t any equine-accompanied photos of Kate Middleton. After more than six years of marriage, it’s unlikely that Kate will suddenly become a serious rider, but with Meghan’s love for animals, she may be the one to break the trend of non-horsey royal brides.
[Featured Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]