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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Prince Harry Hits the Polo Field in Front of Netflix Cameras

WorldEuropePrince Harry Hits the Polo Field in Front of Netflix Cameras


In front of rolling cameras and a crowd of nearly 300 guests, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, barreled toward one end of a polo field in South Florida on Friday.

“The Duke of Sussex may score a goal!” an announcer cried through a loudspeaker at the Royal Salute Polo Challenge to Benefit Sentebale, which was attended by spectators including Serena Williams and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and by film crews with Netflix. The streamer is producing a polo-related project with Harry and Meghan that was announced on Thursday and that will be filmed in Wellington, an affluent area near Palm Beach known for its equestrian scene.

The announcer and many in the crowd groaned audibly when Harry missed the shot. He was wearing a blue and white jersey with the No. 2 on it, along with a logo for Sentebale, a charitable organization he founded to support children in the African countries Lesotho and Botswana, and a logo for Royal Salute, a whisky brand and a sponsor of the invitation-only charity match involving three teams.

The event took place at the Grand Champions Polo Club and its organizers included Melissa and Marc Ganzi, members of Wellington’s polo community as well as the founders of the World Polo League and the owners of the Grand Champions club. The Ganzis also own the Santa Rita Polo Farm in Wellington and the Aspen Valley Polo Club in Colorado. Mr. Ganzi is the chief executive of Digital Bridge, an investment firm formerly known as Colony Capital, where he succeeded Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the chairman of former President Donald J. Trump’s inaugural committee.

Harry, 39, one of the highest-profile polo players in the world, competed in the match with other stars of the sport like the renowned Argentine player Adolfo Cambiaso; the English player Malcolm Borwick, an ambassador for Royal Salute; and Nacho Figueras, the Argentine athlete who has regularly faced off against Harry on polo fields and whose career has made him a face not only of the sport but also of Ralph Lauren, a brand that has intertwined its identity with polo.

Harry’s team ultimately won the match, and was presented with a trophy by Meghan, who received cheers from the crowd as she approached a podium on a stage to deliver the award in a cream-colored Heidi Merrick halter dress and towering nude Aquazzura pumps.

Meghan, after being assisted up a staircase to the stage, walked past the other players on the winning team and straight toward her husband. “Me?” Harry said jokingly to his wife, pointing toward his chest and feigning surprise before the couple leaned in for a rather cinematic kiss — the Netflix cameras were there, after all.

The Sussexes’ polo project is one of two newly announced initiatives involving them and the streamer; the other project, according to Deadline, will focus on Meghan and activities like cooking, gardening and entertaining. Last month Meghan, 42, announced on social media the start of another new venture, a lifestyle brand called American Riviera Orchard, about a week before Catherine, Princess of Wales, revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer.

The Royal Salute Polo Challenge came at the end of the professional polo season in the United States, which takes place largely in Wellington from January through April. The U.S. Open Polo Championship finals are scheduled to take place next weekend at the National Polo Center in Wellington. The professional tour then moves to Europe for the summer and to South America in the fall.

As Mr. Borwick, the English player, put it: “Polo season follows the sun.” In an interview before the match on Friday, he said that “the sport has changed so much” as investments in polo have transformed it into “a fully professional sport.”

“It used to be perfectly acceptable to leave the bar at 3 o’clock in the morning and go play professional polo the next day,” Mr. Borwick said, describing the sport’s evolution as “an incredible journey.”

“For us, as professionals going on that journey, it has been a challenge to continually adapt and change,” Mr. Borwick said.



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