It was a very happy birthay for one Royal couple this past weekend, as Prince William enjoyed his 32 nd birthday in England on June 21 with as many of his Royal family members by his side as were available. One very special Royal family member, the Queen herself, has been reported to gift the second in line to the throne with a $13M dollar plane for his special day. US Weekly has dispelled those rumors saying the plane was a purchase for the entire family, saying the Queen provided the gift as an “alternative to chartering a number of different helicopters” . The day after his birthday, Prince William attended the June Goldin Group Charity Cup at the Beaufort Polo Club, and apparently received no birthday sympathy from his brother Prince Harry who maintained his competitive edge to beat his elder brother in a polo match according to Vanity Fair on June 23.
The sibling rivalry between the two Princes at the June Goldin Group Charity Cup is well known, and this was not the first year the two Princes battled it out according to Vanity Fair. Prince Harry with the Piaget team was happy to win against Prince William’s Royal Salute for the second year in a row. In his birthday polo match, Prince William lost to his brother in a 7 to 5 and a half goals.
To some of the more competitive spirits in the world, this might put a damper on a birthday weekend.
An onlooker however told US Weekly otherwise, “Even though Harry won, both brothers seemed on really good form. They were still chatting and laughing together after the match. I think Prince William took the defeat well.”
Kate Middleton was nowhere to be found at the June Goldin Group Charity Cup, but had spent the Saturday evening prior with her husband for a private birthday celebration according to US Weekly. The last equestrian event of her husband’s attended by the Duchess of Cambridge was the event at the Royal Charity Polo Match on Father’s Day in Cirencester, England where Prince George stole the show and took his first wobbly public steps according to the L.A. Times.
In addition to helping Prince George continue on those sure feet, Kate Middleton is also very busy securing renovations at the country home of Amner Hall for the Duke and Duchess, the Duchess of Cambridge. She is also working on a $3 million dollar renovation on the 22 room apartment she shares with William in Kensington Palace. This 22-room apartment is the same one one used by Princess Margaret, according to the Daily Mail. Were she not so busy securing the homestead for her special prince’s she would likely be as involved in the equestrian circuit as her husband and his brother.
One equestrian project supported by Kate Middleton and all members of the Royal family is work with the EquiCenter that helps miltary veterans according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The EquiCenter is a facility that is used for therepeutic purposes to help military veterans and individuals with special needs and disabilities. The center provides comfort and healing to trauma victims and military veterans, and uses horses to help people start feeling emotions again according to the Rochester D & C.
Rochester D & C highlights a story of a 46-year-old United States Air Force veteran who has benefitted from the charity work of the Royal Family. Skip Baker has served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force and experienced 5 different deployments in combat active duty all over the world. Baker spends 70 hours a week grooming and spending time with the horses as part of his healing and recovery from his post-trauma and depression.
Baker recently told the Rochester D & C how much this Royal charity work helped him.
“I was suffering from severe depression and basically I shut out all emotions. With horses you form a bond – it’s not a human being, but it’s something – and once you form that bond you start developing emotions again.”
In their efforts to ensure that other military veterans that have experienced active combat duty get the same kind of help that Baker has, the EquiCenter has met with Prince Harry’s Regiment in London in order to provide “best practices” to their clients. The center is a 200-acre ranch based in the affluent Rochester suburb of Mendon and is known internationally as a non-profit group that provides activities such as horseback riding as therapy to assist those in building both emotional and physical strength.
The center treats everything from those with disabilities to post-traumatic stress disorder, and even cerebral palsy. In addition to working closely with Prince Harry’s Regiment in London, the center’s founders Jonathan and Stacy Friedlander also partners with the Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, reportedly ranking among the world’s leading children’s hospitals.
The ranch has also partnered with the Veteran’s Outreach Center in Rochester, NY to service the needs of as many military vets as possible.
The couple that own and have founded the ranch have also been invited by Prince Harry to attend the Household Cavalry Standards Parade reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Jonathan and Stacy Friedlander will attend the Household Cavalry Standards Parade which is a ceremony that is held once every 10 years and honors the new flags and standards that the Queen presents to Prince Harry’s Regiment.
The Household Cavalry Foundation will partner with the Equi Center in Rochester to continue serving and supporting military families in the United States and England. Jonathan Friedlander told the Rochester D & C that,
“Both countries have veterans that have served, and therefore need to be served. We are working together to make that happen.”