German prince died after Northamptonshire horse fall

Prince and friends Image copyright Alexander Fiske-Harrison
Image caption Prince Georg Constantin (left) was an experienced horse rider

The death of a German prince who fell from a horse he was riding was accidental, an inquest has heard.

Prince Georg Constantin von Sachen Weimar Eisenach, 41, died on 9 June at Apethorpe Palace in Northamptonshire.

Northampton Coroner's Court heard he was riding at walking pace with his friend Baron von Pfetten at the time.

The prince suffered severe chest injuries in the accident, but what caused him to fall from the animal remains unknown.

The inquest heard that Prince Georg, an experienced rider, had enjoyed good health and played contact sport throughout his life.

On the day of his death, he had driven from Germany to stay with his friend, and the pair had set out on a hack at about 20:00 BST.

Both were wearing appropriate riding equipment including helmets.

Baron von Pfetten, the owner of Apethorpe Palace, told the inquest he was riding in front, with Prince Georg behind him.

Image caption Apethorpe Palace is a Jacobean country house near Oundle in East Northamptonshire

The baron said he first realised something had happened when his horse acted in a manner he described as "frisky".

Despite not having heard shouts, he noticed that the prince had fallen and was lying unresponsive on his back.

Two East of England ambulance crews attended, but Prince Georg was declared dead at about 21:25 that evening.

A post-mortem examination found he had suffered severe chest trauma, including broken ribs and a fracture to the breast bone consistent with severe blunt force.

In a statement read to the court, the prince's sister, Desiree Hoesnbroech said the family had been "moved by the number of people who had been in contact to share their condolences".

She said her brother, who studied economics at the University of St Andrews before embarking on a career in finance, was an "excellent rider" who also enjoyed rugby, golf and was committed to charity work.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember said it was clear that the prince had "died doing something he loved".

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