Prince Harry rounded off his hugely successful week-long tour of the U.S. yesterday very much in his comfort zone – playing polo in Connecticut.
His team won the match at the exclusive Greenwich Polo Club in aid of Sentebale, the charity he set up to help children in the poverty stricken African kingdom of Lesotho.
And as well as being awarded a trophy for his team’s stellar effort, Prince Harry also scored a kiss from model Karolina Kurkova at the end of the fast-moving game.
Cheered on by models, designers and wealthy guests, Prince Harry played in a team captained by Malcolm Borthwick, a regular in the England team, against a team led by Argentinean player and Ralph Lauren model, Nacho Figueras.
Malcolm Borthwick said Prince Harry would show his true athleticism on the field after having tried his hand at baseball in New York City on Tuesday.
“He’s an extremely good polo player,” he said.
Also playing on Prince Harry’s team was Dawn Jones, wife of the actor Tommy Lee Jones.
The game kicked off after Prince Harry arrived in a motorcade dressed in jeans, a blazer and his favorite desert boots. He was greeted by club founder Peter Brandt and his model wife, Stephanie Seymour.
Peter Brant, 65, – whose wife is 44 – is an American industrialist and businessman, worth an estimated $2.7 billion. He is also a major art collector and avid horseman.
He said on Wednesday that Prince Harry’s father and grandfather were good players and he was excited to watch Harry play at his club.
“It’s a great honor,” he said.
“It’s great for polo.”
Located in leafy Connecticut, Greenwich is one of the wealthiest pockets of the US, filled with hedge fund millionaires and their trophy wives.
Unlike previous royal polo events, tickets for the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup, one of the highlights of the international calendar, are not available for sale.
The guests included the 13th Duke of Argyll, fashionista Olivia Palermo, model Karolina Kurkova and designers Jason Wu and Valentino.
“Is the sun coming out?” Karolina Kurkova asked as she posed in a light rain.
Guests at the polo dined on grilled peppered fillet of beef, served with an arugla and spring vegetable salad and crispy warm panisse, followed by vanilla bean creme brule, mixed berry trifle, Lemon Curd tart with mixed berries and truffle brownie squares.
Just 400 seats were available in all, however, making it literally the hottest ticket in a town, with dozens of elegantly-coiffured ladies – both young and old – trying to beg, borrow or steal an invite.
At the Greenwich branch of the English-Speaking Union, which promotes English language and culture, Natalie Pray, the president, has been fielding calls from its 300 members, some blatantly offering cash for tickets to see the prince play, according to the New York Times.
Peter Orthwein, the chief executive of Thor Industries, who is a founding member of the Polo Club admitted the prince’s visit had caused a stir.
In a speech shortly before the match, Prince Harry talked at length about the work of Sentebale in the tiny landlocked kingdom of Lesotho where AIDS is rife.
He said: “Whilst Sentebale may be evolving rapidly, the situation on the ground in Lesotho remains critical.
“The HIV pandemic continues to leave thousands of children without parents and family structures to guide them through life. Without this support, basic needs such as food, shelter and care remain unmet, leaving children vulnerable and very often without much hope in their lives.”
Prince Harry concluded by commenting about his extraordinarily successful tour of the US, saying: “This is the last day of my tour around the United States. “Thank you for a wonderful week. I have witnessed the extraordinary generosity of the people of this great Nation.”
Prince Harry’s visit promised a lighter tone than his stop the previous day in New Jersey, where he toured two shore communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
He also spent Tuesday in New York City at events promoting tourism, entrepreneurism and philanthropy.