Mount Forest woman remembers encounter with late Prince Philip at polo club
KITCHENER -- A Mount Forest woman is remembering her encounter with Prince Philip when he came to Canada in the 1960s.
"My impression of Prince Philip was nobody should be that good looking," Janet Johnson said.
Johnson was 18 years old when she met the Duke of Edinburgh at the Toronto Polo Club.
"He said 'I like this horse so much, I think I'll take it back to England with me,'" Johnson said. "I said 'Well, not without me you won't,' and he said 'That can be arranged.' I thought 'I've done it, I have put my foot in my mouth.'"
Johnson said it was rare for a woman to get a job as a polo horse trainer in the 1960s and even rarer to meet a royal.
Now, she said it's an important memory that she holds close.
"I wasn't tongue tied, but at the same time I didn't know how important the visit was," she said. "He was just another rider to me."
Johnson's sister, Suzanne Brown, witnessed the memorable polo game.
"She approached the prince with a mallet in her hand so that he would have the appropriate mallet to use," Brown said. "As she walked towards him, she just about got tackled by three security guards and wrestled to the ground because nobody approaches the prince with a weapon."
Johnson sent Prince Philip a letter during his recent hospitalization to remind of that day and the horse he admired. To her surprise, she received a response from Buckingham Palace.
"I like to think that he did remember," Johnson said.
Prince Philip died Friday at the age of 99.