Prince William faces heartbreaking grief at funeral for childhood polo teacher

Prince William and Prince Harry were both taught by the late Claire Tomlinson how to play polo as children

Prince William faces grief at former polo teacher's funeral
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William has made an appearance at the funeral of a very special person from his childhood—his former polo instructor.

The Duke of Cambridge has attended the funeral of Claire Tomlinson, who died aged 77 on January 13 after a long battle with dementia. 

The talented athlete and former coach of England's national polo team played a very important role in Prince William and Prince Harry's youth, teaching them to master the traditionally royal sport as children. 

She continued to support the brothers in their equestrian pursuits as they got older, cheering them on during matches from the sidelines throughout the years. 

Claire Tomlinson and Prince Charles

Claire Tomlinson and Prince Charles in 2009 

(Image credit: Getty)

It's understood that the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex remained close with Claire's sons into adulthood, even inviting them to their weddings at Westminster Abbey in 2011 and 2018, respectively. 

William, now 39, arrived at the memorial service on Monday afternoon flanked by a single royal protection officer. He was joined by about 200 other mourners for the solemn ceremony, which was held in St. Mary's Church in Tetbury, a two-hour-long drive from Kensington Palace. Neither his wife, Kate Middleton, nor their three children, accompanied him on the engagement. 

Prince William and Prince Harry have never been shy about their passion for polo, having fallen in love with the horseback activity at a young age. 

Harry and William play polo

Prince William and Prince Harry playing polo in 2019 

(Image credit: Getty)

The pair have competed in multiple tournaments over the past few decades, with many of their most recent feats taking place for charity. It's even been reported that Prince Charles, who was an avid player until 2005, gifted his first son a polo stick (known as a mallet) when he was less than a year old. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.