As Sasha Walpole reveals she took Prince Harry’s virginity, we look at royal connection to jockeys and horses

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Prince Harry is not the only Royal who has had a romantic dalliance with someone connected to horses. Zara Tindall once dated jockey Richard Johnson and her father Captain Mark Phillips was married to an Olympic dressage rider

As the Royals have such a well documented deep connection to the world of horses and the racing world, it is hardly surprising that Prince Harry spent much of his youth hanging out at polo clubs. Sasha Walpole, 40, a former stables girl, has revealed that she is the ‘older’ woman in Prince Harry’s memoir.

In his book Spare, Prince Harry recounts how he lost his virginity in a field behind a pub.

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The married mother of two who is now a digger driver revealed that she learnt through friends about the ‘virginity’ story in his memoir and reportedly felt the need to be honest in order for the speculation to stop over who the mystery woman might be.

Sasha met Prince Harry when she was working as a groom at the King's Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire in the early 2000s.

Prince Harry at a polo charity match in Italy in 2019. Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images).  Prince Harry and the royal family have a long history connected to the world of horses so it is not surprising that is has been revealed that he lost his virginity to a former stables girl, Sasha Walpole. Prince Harry at a polo charity match in Italy in 2019. Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images).  Prince Harry and the royal family have a long history connected to the world of horses so it is not surprising that is has been revealed that he lost his virginity to a former stables girl, Sasha Walpole.
Prince Harry at a polo charity match in Italy in 2019. Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images). Prince Harry and the royal family have a long history connected to the world of horses so it is not surprising that is has been revealed that he lost his virginity to a former stables girl, Sasha Walpole. | AFP via Getty Images

Prince Harry and his brother spent a lot of their time playing polo in their youth and were exposed to the world of horses and racing thanks to their grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth 11.

When Queen Elizabeth 11 passed away in September last year, one of the most poignant moments was when her beloved horse Emma (wearing one of the Queen’s head scarves draped on her saddle), stood on the grounds of Windsor Castle as her coffin made its way up the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel.

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It goes without saying that the late Queen had both an affinity with horses and the racing world. Horse & Hound’s former Editor Michael Clayton wrote in June 2021 that “During her seven decades on the throne, the effect of The Queen’s love of horses has extended not only to her family, but to the equestrian world at large.”

Queen Elizabeth 11 had a lifelong passion for horses.  Photo by CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images)Queen Elizabeth 11 had a lifelong passion for horses.  Photo by CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth 11 had a lifelong passion for horses. Photo by CARL COURT/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth 11’s granddaughter Zara Tindall is a royal family member who shares her late grandmother’s passion for horses. Zara is not only an accomplished horsewoman but an Olympic medallist too! She won a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012 as part of Great Britain's Equestrian team and her grandmother naturally was elated.

Former royal protection officer Richard Griffin spoke about the Queen’s reaction to Zara winning a medal when she was out for a picnic. “So I radioed them, found out she’s won the silver medal and I remember the Queen just grabbed me and were dancing around in circles on this hill in Scotland.

Before Zara married Mike Tindall she also enjoyed a romance with jockey Richard Johnson and the couple dated from 1998 to 20023. The couple reportedly met when they were working for the National Hunt trainer David Johnson at his stables. As well as both being riders, Zara is said to have had the additional responsibility of grooming the horses there.

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Zara Tindall dated jockey Richard Johnson. Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)Zara Tindall dated jockey Richard Johnson. Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)
Zara Tindall dated jockey Richard Johnson. Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Zara is not the only member of the royal family who has had a romance or married someone connected to horses. Her father Mark Philips who was married to Zara’s mother Princess Anne from 1973 to 1992, was also an accomplished horseman and won a team gold medal at the Olympics.

Princess Anne also shared her late mother's passion for horses and in 1976, competed in the Olympic games, riding on one of her mother's horses. She was the first member of the British royal family to compete in the Olympic games.

Princess Anne also won an individual gold medal at the 1971 Burghley Three-Day Event and won individual and team silver medals in 1975 at Luhmuhlen.

Princess Anne and an another gentleman lifting her then fiance Captain Mark Phillips  at Hickstead, an equestrian centre in West Sussex, England, July 1973.  (Photo by McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)Princess Anne and an another gentleman lifting her then fiance Captain Mark Phillips  at Hickstead, an equestrian centre in West Sussex, England, July 1973.  (Photo by McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Princess Anne and an another gentleman lifting her then fiance Captain Mark Phillips at Hickstead, an equestrian centre in West Sussex, England, July 1973. (Photo by McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Captain Mark Phillips’s second wife Sandy Pflueger was a former American Olympic dressage rider and is now reportedly dating Belgian equestrian Florence Standaert who is said to be around the same age as his daughter. Another example of a royal romance linked to the world of horses is Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s relationship.

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Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew reportedly first met as children as Sarah Ferguson’s father Major Ronald Ferguson was the polo manager initially to the Duke of Edinburgh and then King Charles, the then Prince of Wales. According to Vanity Fair, Princess Diana, in the combined role of Cupid and corporate-image consultant, suggested inviting a childhood chum, Sarah Ferguson, the daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson, Prince Charles’s polo manager, to join them at Royal Ascot and reintroduced the sparky twenty-six-year-old redhead to her favourite brother-in-law.”

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