Meet Flora Peel – The English hockey star is descended from political royalty

Meet Flora Peel – The English hockey star is descended from political royalty

Meet Flora Peel – The English hockey star is descended from political royalty

Flora Peel of England in action during the FIH Hockey Pro League match at Lee Valley, London.  Image Date: Saturday May 28, 2022 - Meet Flora Peel - British hockey star descended from political royalty - PA IMAGES / ALAMY

Flora Peel of England in action during the FIH Hockey Pro League match at Lee Valley, London. Image Date: Saturday May 28, 2022 – Meet Flora Peel – British hockey star descended from political royalty – PA IMAGES / ALAMY

Many sportsmen are eager to shake off the weight of a famous surname, but not Flora Peel.

It helps that the English hockey star’s lineage belongs to a dark and distant past, but there are certainly few famous nicknames like hers: Peel’s great-grandfather (in power of five) was Sir Robert: the two-time Prime Minister. , creator of the Metropolitan Police service and one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party.

Peel has never tried to cash in on her past – she juggles her hockey career and her full-time job as a sports paralegal – but she isn’t intimidated by it either.

“It was my fun fact a [Birmingham] University, ”Peel says, with a laugh. “It’s quite unusual, but it’s been so long that it doesn’t have an immediate impact on my sporting activities.”

His father – also Robert – sets the record straight about the family lineage. Flora is actually the sixth generation descendant of Robert Peel, the first industrial baronet (known as Parsley Peel after inventing the textile print with the Parsley motif), one of whose sons became prime minister.

“My grandparents have family trees, but that’s all for me,” adds Flora. “I’d like to think he’d be happy [in today’s society]. He died falling off his horse, so I guess health and safety have improved since then and maybe he would have been wearing a helmet.

“Politics is not something I wanted to get into or none of my brothers do. My father and my grandparents make cheese [largely exporting Mozzarella to restaurants]. “

Portrait of Sir Robert Peel - GETTY IMAGES

Portrait of Sir Robert Peel – GETTY IMAGES

With the family fortune made during the cotton mill boom, the Peel family motto is “Industry”, while the coat of arms includes a bee to symbolize business. It certainly reflects Flora’s attitude towards her sport of hers, where her action-packed performance helped England reach the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games.

The 25-year-old has always had sporting skills. He won the British Slalom Championships at age 12 before hockey took over. “It was incredible fun and I don’t have a clue why I did it, but now it’s more fun, less throwing me off the slopes,” he says.

Born in Cheltenham after the family moved south Lancashire, Peel has lived in the Netherlands for the past few seasons, a move that excludes most England or GB players other than goalkeeper Maddie Hinch due to schedule commitments. central. He had signed up to stay in The Hague but, after joining the full-time program in January, days later he was flying to Argentina for his first FIH Pro League matches.

“I was thrown deep inside, but I feel so lucky to have the opportunity,” she admits. “Many players spend years trying to get their first appearance.

I remember the locker room before the game, someone said the crowd was going to be something you never felt before and it did. I’ve been told to take it all and when you start playing hockey that’s all you think about, not the boos they make over there.

Flora Peel of England in action during the FIH Hockey Pro League match at Lee Valley, London.  Image date: Saturday 28 May 2022 - PA IMMAGINI / ALAMY

Flora Peel of England in action during the FIH Hockey Pro League match at Lee Valley, London. Image date: Saturday 28 May 2022 – PA IMMAGINI / ALAMY

The Dutch environment has clearly paid dividends for Peel after several seasons played for HDM based in The Hague. “He’s so ruthless that you can keep raising your level or you will keep getting called out for not being good enough,” he says.

“It’s that competitive nature. At the end of each training session we play a match and if you don’t win everyone is really pissed off. It is the mentality that I had to change ”.

Speaking with Peel’s new teammates, it is evident that he has the potential to be an international pillar. “The steps he took after playing in Holland were extraordinary,” says Anna Toman. “I’m so glad the program recognized that and gave her the opportunity to try. It was obvious as soon as she arrived. You would never do that just know she only had a certain number of hats.

The lifestyle change also meant that the legal professional had to negotiate her contract with the sports law firm Onside Law. “Covid has changed the working environment for an athlete – and fingers crossed it will work,” she adds.

His off-pitch activities will have to wait, however, with a Commonwealth semi-final against New Zealand on Friday and EuroHockey qualifiers in Durham still to come this summer.

“This was a dream I was giving up,” admits Peel. “I had come to a difficult stage in life where I had begun to find out what I wanted to do. If you had asked me a year ago that I would be in this position, I would not have believed you ”.

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