Meet Flora Peel – England’s star hockey player who rose to political royalty

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

The 25-year-old has always had sporting prowess. She won the British Slalom Championships aged 12 before hockey took over. “It was super fun and I have no idea why I did it, but now it’s more the fun, less throwing myself on the slopes,” she says.

Born in Cheltenham after the family moved to south Lancashire, Peel has been based in Holland for the past few seasons, a move that rules out most England or Britain players other than goalkeeper Maddie Hinch due to central program commitments . She had signed to stay at The Hague but, after joining the program full-time in January, a few days later was flying to Argentina for her first FIH Pro League matches.

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

“I remember the dressing room before the game, someone said the crowd would be something you’ve never experienced before and it was. I was told to figure it all out and when you start playing in hockey, you only think about that, not about the boos they make over there.

Catherine J. Martinez