The Queen has been horseback riding since she was a child and has shown no sign of slowing down in recent years. Her daughter, Princess Anne, has led an established equestrian career; her granddaughter Zara Phillips is a medal-winning British event rider; and Princes William and Harry are keen polo players. Yet there's one member of the family who is never seen enjoying the royal pastime in public.
Kate leaves Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn carriage at Trooping the Colour, June 2011
Unlike many other royals, the Duchess of Cambridge hasn't ever been pictured on a horse. She has enjoyed days out at the races on several occasions and in 2012, she was spotted supporting Zara compete at the London Olympic Games. During a screening of War Horse, director Steven Spielberg said the royal was even moved to tears. But despite her apparent interest in horses, Kate isn't known for saddling up.
According to a long-standing rumor, she may be allergic to horses, but one royal biographer says there's another simple explanation.
"Kate doesn't ride, purely because didn't do it growing up," Marcia Moody, author of Kate: A Biography, told Town & Country. "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."
Her supposed allergy and lack of riding experience hasn't stopped Kate from wanting to learn, though. During a conversation with Paralympic medallist Lee Pearson at a Buckingham Palace reception in 2012, Kate said she had taken up the sport, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Kate enjoys a day at Cheltenham races, March 2008
“Kate said she's learning to ride so I offered to give her some lessons," Pearson told the newspaper. "She held my medals and said how heavy they were, and asked if me if I'd been riding all my life."
William and Harry playing polo, May 2016
And after the Countess of Wessex made him aware that the Duchess was allergic to horses, Pearson offered some advice. “I said ‘so am I, but antihistamines are wonderful’,” he added.
Four years later, Kate's riding lessons have not turned into a regular hobby. Speaking to Great Britain's 2016 Olympic team last October, the Duchess revealed that she doesn't share her family's passion for horses, but a younger member of the family has already shown an interest in the sport.
Princess Diana and Harry lead William on a pony on the grounds at Highgrove in 1986.
“I asked her how the children were and she said Charlotte is really enjoying her riding, which is great to hear and I said we may see her here on a line-up in 20 years’ time,’” paralympic rider Natasha Baker told Horse & Hound.
”She emphasized that Charlotte has this passion about horses and although she doesn’t echo it, she’ll do her best to champion and encourage it.”
According to Moody, Prince George is also a fan. "It has been reported that George has already had riding lessons, and this would certainly be in keeping with how young William and Harry were when they first started riding on their Shetland Ponies Smokey and Trigger," she explained. "It's likely that Charlotte will follow in her big brother's footsteps sooner rather than later."
We might not see Kate ride a horse, but it sounds like the young Prince and Princess could be following in their great-grandmother's footsteps.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.