The Pony Club Search for a Princess competition saw fourteen year old winner Hannah Richardson take a leading role in Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.
Hannah, who has been a member of The Old Berkshire Hunt Pony Club since the age of four, was chosen from ten shortlisted riders who attended a selection day at Moorwards Farm Equestrian Coaching Facility, Buckinghamshire.
The standard of riding amongst each of the ten potential princesses was high, and by lunchtime the judging panel of Captain Mark Avison, former Riding Master of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, Pony Club Chairman Mary Tuckett, Pony Club Vice Chairman Dawn Taylor and Pony Club Coach Lois Selmes, were undecided on who they should choose as the Princess and reserves.
But Hannah and twelve year old Annie’s Kit performed impeccably throughout the afternoon sessions to be chosen unanimously for the role of a young Princess. A speechless Hannah took to the podium with reserves Alice Hillary (14, Cobham Pony Club) and Charlotte Keers (12, North Down Pony Club) who had made the long trip to Iver Heath from Northern Ireland.
A delighted Hannah said: “It was a big shock to be chosen. It felt surreal!”
None of the riders left empty handed, as we at Champion fitted and presented all ten potential princesses with a new Champion Grand Prix hat, a low profile, modern and lightweight hat, covered in fine rich and durable German velvet for a traditional look. Each potential princess also received family tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Mary Tuckett, Chairman of The Pony Club, said: “The Pony Club was greatly honoured to be involved with the celebration of HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, marking not only her birthday but her life-long passion for horses and her contribution to the equestrian industry.”
Hannah took to Royal Windsor’s spectacular Castle Arena each night alongside Kinvara Garner, who was selected to pair up with Hannah by representatives from Windsor, dressed in tweed jackets and period style jodphurs with flared thighs and hips. The Princesses also donned dark coloured wigs to perform a mock riding lesson under the guidance of Pony Club stalwart Hilary Wakefield, who played the part of instructor Sybil Smith; Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret’s childhood riding instructor.
The celebration, which included over 900 horses and more than 1,500 participants from all over the world, took the audience through The Queen’s extraordinary life; from the excitement of her birth, through to World War Two, her marriage, the coronation and a reign of more than 60 years.
As well as playing the part of a young Princess, Hannah was invited to a Reception at Windsor Castle where she was introduced to The Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and TV personalities Ant and Dec.
Sporty Hannah, who also enjoys netball, athletics, hockey and swimming, said: “The Reception was an amazing experience and a real privilege.” Hannah went on to thank her mum, dad and sister Abby for their support and her much-loved pony Kit for being ‘one in a million.’ Hannah also thanked her instructor Charlotte Jackson and her Pony Club District Commissioner Alison Hargreaves who supported her Search for a Princess competition application.