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As a royal, it must be hard to find your own identity. Perhaps that is why many choose elite sport as a focus.
There are even a number who have made it to the Olympic stage.
From royal dynasties who have passed their sporting ambition and prowess onto the next generation, to professional athletes who have married into royalty, Ellie Kelly takes a look at a few…
Princess Anne was the first British Royal to compete in an Olympics. Competing in the sport of Three Day Eventing, she had already been crowned European Champions at the age of 21 before she competed at the 1976 Montreal Games. She rode “Goodwill”, a horse owned by her mother, The Queen.
She is reported to have fallen from her horse at a jump but despite suffering concussion, she remounted and completed the course and still claims she cannot remember the cross-country phase that day.
Zara Tindall has the fearlessness required for eventing, in her DNA. Her mother is Princess Anne and her father, Captain Mark Phillips won eventing team gold in Munich 1972 and team silver in Seoul 1988.
Zara, who still events at elite level after having her three children, has enjoyed an illustrious sporting career.
She was crowned World Champion in 2006 and won team silver in London 2012.
Felipe VI has been the King of Spain since 2014. Whilst still a Prince he was successful competitive sailor and appropriately, a member of the Spanish Sailing team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, where he was also the Spanish flag bearer in the opening ceremony.
Both his mother and uncle King Constantine II of the Hellenes were on the Greek sailing team at the 1960 Olympics in Rome (his mother was reserve). Felipe’s father and sister were also Olympic sailors for Spain.
Constantine II of Greece
Constantine II of Greece is the uncle of Felipe VI and was the last Royal Head of State before the monarchy was abolished in Greece. He won a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics, in the sport of sailing. He later served on the International Olympic Committee.
Cristina Infanta is the older sister of King Felipe VI of Spain and also competed as part of Spain’s national sailing team at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In 1996 at an Olympic commemoration event, she met Handballer Inaki Urdangarin who had won a bronze and went on to win another bronze in Sydney after the couple were married.
The couple became the Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca but were stripped of their titles following a corruption scandal.
Albert II, a Prince of Monaco and the son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly. His grandfather was also an Olympic medallist as part of the national rowing team. In his youth Albert competed at no less than five consecutive Winter Olympics in the sport of bobsleigh, taking part in both two and four man events. He was also Monaco’s flag bearer at four of those.
His maternal grandfather John B Kelly Sr., and maternal uncle, John B Kelly Jr were both Olympic medalists in rowing. Albert also took part in the Paris-Dakar Rally and became a judo black belt at the age of 53.
Charlene Wittstock was an Olympic swimmer and World Champion before she met her husband Prince Albert of Monaco, himself an Olympian in bobsleigh. Charlene took part in the 2000 Sydney Olympics for her native South Africa, where her team came fifth in the 4 X 100-metre medley relay.
It was around this time she met her future husband and would become Princess Charlene. She continued with her sport and went on to achieve three gold medals at the World Cup in 2002.
Princess Haya bint Hussein
Princess Haya bint Hussein, is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, she was formerly married to the ruler of the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. (Divorced 2019)
Princess Haya was a keen equestrian, competing in showjumping at the Pan Arab Equestrian Games where she won a bronze in 1992. She was the first Jordanian athlete to turn professional and later competed at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, for her country.
She has remained passionate about horses and served as the President of the International Federations of Equestrian sport for two terms.
Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the daughter of Sheikh Al Maktoum, the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, she competed in martial arts and was the first woman to carry the UAE national flag at an Olympics.
She won a silver medal in the Asian Games and gold medals at two consecutive Pan Arab Games. She started playing polo at the age of 32 as her injuries prevented her from continuing her martial arts and in led her team UAE to victory in the recent Polo Masters Cup.
King Harald V
King Harald V of Norway was an accomplished sailor who competed in three consecutive Olympic Games before he came to the throne- in 1964 (Tokyo), 1968 (Mexico) and 1972 Games (Munich). His father King Olav was also an Olympian who won a gold medal in sailing at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928.
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