Royal couple great sports

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

British royalty felt right at home yesterday under grey skies and around horse-savvy citizens during an unofficial stop at Spruce Meadows.

Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, toured the show-jumping facility to conclude their travel in Alberta as part of an 11-day trek across Canada.

While a curious public was kept at a distance from the royal couple, a few of the riders and coaches -- including American horse strategist John Madden -- got up close and personal with Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II's youngest son.

"What a gentleman -- very pleasant," Madden said.

"They complimented us on our horses they saw at the stables here when they toured the park, and that was quite an honour."

A dapper Prince Edward, sporting a blue suit and red tie, quipped about the soggy weather with Spruce Meadows co-chairs Ron and Marg Southern, who heartily greeted the royal couple with umbrellas and whisked their guests off to a short indoor reception.

"They're nice people -- like you and I," Marg said.

The royals wrapped up the night watching the Duke Energy Cup, the evening's feature competition.

Ron Southern was pleased to meet with the royal couple on the pit stop.

"I'm honoured they chose to spend the afternoon at Spruce Meadows," he said. "I'm just disappointed it's not like Camelot weather.

"They're very friendly and are great sports."


Videos

Photos