Haz-zah! Prince Harry Reigns Victorious at His First Polo Match in Years
For Prince Harry, committing critical funds to his beloved Sentebale was the big win of the day, but it couldn't have been disappointing that his polo team claimed victory during his first match back on the field in years.
The Duke of Sussex enjoyed an action-packed match in Aspen on Thursday, scoring two goals and helping bring his team to a victory of 3-0 in a round robin tournament against the Royal Salute Team and U.S. Polo Assn. Team.
During his surprise appearance at the event, he also promised $1.5 million of the proceeds from his forthcoming memoir to the charity.
"This is one of several donations I plan to make to charitable organizations and I'm grateful to be able to give back in this way for the children and communities who gravely need it," he said in a statement.
Harry, 36, co-founded Sentebale in 2006 with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help children affected by HIV in Africa. "Sentebale is grateful for his personal contribution, which will allow the organization to continue operating at full scale and continue providing critical services to at-risk youth in Southern Africa," the charity said in a statement. The event raised $3.5 million in total towards Sentebale mission, the organization added later.
Harry affirmed, "The Sentebale Polo Cup is critical to securing the funds needed to advance this important mission, and I'm thrilled to be able to support Sentebale, both in person and financially through a separate charitable donation to meet this immediate need."
He also noted, "Our refocussed mission at Sentebale is about addressing the most-immediate needs of vulnerable children in Southern Africa, helping them access vital health services, receive necessary care, and build skills to be more resilient and self-sufficient in the future."
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Sentebale Ambassador Nacho Figueras joined the prince in Colorado, posting after the match on his Instagram: "How lucky I am to be able to ride along with you in your mission of making the world a better place for people not as fortunate as us. It is your commitment and passion to give back that is my inspiration. It was so great spending a couple of days with you my friend."
Meghan Markle did not attend Thursday's match (which featured extensive COVID safety protocols), instead staying home in Montecito, California, with their two young children: 2-year-old Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana, born June 4.
Harry has made a point to participate in the charity event in recent years. Just weeks after Archie was born in 2019, Queen Elizabeth's grandson traveled to Rome for his first night away from his son for the event.
In 2018, Meghan supported Harry from the sidelines — and celebrated with a congratulatory smooch after handing over the trophy.
Sentebale has widened its work from out of the mountain kingdom to Botswana and Malawi over the years. The charity has said that despite great progress made worldwide in combatting the AIDS epidemic, HIV remains one of the leading causes of death for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, where three out of four new HIV infections among 15–19-year-olds are among young women. Stigma is a major factor preventing youth from knowing their HIV status and accessing lifesaving treatment and care.