Heartbreak for Prince William as he attends funeral of friend without Kate Middleton

Prince William
(Image credit: Getty)

Prince William has faced heartbreak after he attended the funeral of his former Polo teacher without his wife Kate Middleton.

Prince William was pictured attending the funeral of his former Polo teacher Claire Tomlinson who taught him and his brother Prince Harry from a young age.

The Duke of Cambridge joined 200 friends and family at the funeral in order to say his final farewell to the former England national polo team captain who died at home on the 13th of January following a long battle with dementia.

Mrs Tomlinson, 77, had two sons Luke and Mark - who are good friends with William and Harry as they were on the guestlist for William and Kate's royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in April 2011 and Harry and Meghan's royal wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 - and a daughter called Emma. All of her three children are senior polo players or coaches.

The polo club where she taught the young royals paid tribute to her. The uploaded a snap on Instagram and the captioned read,  'Claire Tomlinson 14th Feb 1944 - 12th Jan 2022

'It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Claire Tomlinson at the age of 77. Claire suffered from advanced dementia, she died at home peacefully with her 3 children by her side. Details of Claire’s memorial will follow shortly.'

A photo posted by on

She learned how to play polo from her father when she was aged 15 before joining the team at university - where he had to give his permission for her to do so because it was so rare, and at first she was entered under the name of 'Mr Lucas'. But it paid off as she went on to become the highest-rated British female polo player on record and the first woman to compete against male opponents in top-level or high-goal polo.

In June 2000 Elizabeth II presented the runner's up trophy to Mrs Tomlinson who played in the final along with her two sons, Mark and Luke during the Royal Windsor Cup at the Guards Polo Club, Windsor.

Claire Tomlinson and the Queen

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

Prince William and Prince Harry were taught how to play the sport at Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire at the request of their father Prince Charles.

So it's only fitting that Prince William attended the service of remembrance at St Mary's Church in Tetbury, which is located in the Cotswolds a mile away from his father Prince Charles's Highgrove estate.

A royal protection officer accompanied Prince William, who wore traditional black attire, but there was no sign of his three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, or Prince Louis who would have likely been at school or at home with his wife Kate Middleton.

Prince Harry and Prince Charles playing polo

TETBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: At The Beaufort Polo Club, Tetbury, Gloucestershire - Prince Harry Playing Polo With His Father Prince Charles. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
(Image credit: Tim Graham Photo Library via Get)

As Prince William is left-handed, Mrs Tomlinson taught him how to play the sport which can only be done right-handed - and the brothers have since competed against each other in many charity competitions.


Many of the mourners who attended the funeral service were players Mrs Tomlinson had taught as children, and afterward, guests described it as an 'amazing' and 'beautiful' tribute to her.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for Goodto.com, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life and has more than 16 years of experience in newspapers, magazines and online. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings and reality show line-ups including Strictly, Dancing On Ice and The Great British Bake Off, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.