A Five-Hour Tour

CVA 99-2008 - Visit of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, polo game (Saddled Up) 1929 Stuart Thomson

CVA 99-2008 – Visit of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, polo game. 1929 Stuart Thomson photo. (VAIW note: Henry appears to be closest to the photographer).*

87 years ago this month, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester,** came to Vancouver for a few days of R & R (or, rather, G & P . . . Golf and Polo) before a planned itinerary that was to include a stop (among others) near High River, Alberta at the Prince of Wales Ranch and points east of there.

As it turned out, the Prince ended up spending most of his visit in Vancouver. And nearly all of his time here was spent in his suite in the Hotel Vancouver. In bed. Convalescing.

He fell from his polo mount onto his head and fractured his collarbone. That happened on June 4. According to press accounts, he left Vancouver to return home to Britain on June 27. His Canadian tour (with the exception of a couple of days in Victoria before arriving in Vancouver aboard the Princess Mary) was a washout due to the polo incident.

Journalists of the day were remarkably discreet on the question of how, precisely, Henry came to be off his horse and wrong-end-up. Even several years after the Princely Tumble, one press account blamed the Prince’s horse, not the rider: “The pony slipped.”***

Prince Henry was in Vancouver for all of 5 hours before his fall. There was, evidently, no opportunity for a round of golf.

The prince’s polo match took place at the Vancouver Polo Club which was located, at the time, at Brighouse Park in Richmond.

CVA 99-2638 - Building at Brighouse Horse Racing Track 1929 Stuart Thomson

CVA 99-2638 – Building at Brighouse Horse Racing Track. 1929. Stuart Thomson photo.

Notes

*All of CVA’s Stuart Thomson images of Prince Henry at the Vancouver Polo Club may be seen here.

**Prince Henry was the third son of King George V and Queen Mary; he was a great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Henry married Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott (later, Princess Alice) in 1935. He was Governor-General of Australia from 1945-47. He died in 1974.

***The Spartanburg (South Carolina) Morning Herald. Sept 20/35.

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