RSVIP: Veuve Clicquot 2010 Polo Classic, Prince Harry Versus Nacho Figueras
"I flew in from London last night," mentioned Houston social Becca Cason Thrash. "I've seen Prince Harry play at Highgrove, his father's summer home. He's adorable . . . and shockingly tall."
"Harry versus Nacho, should be VERY interesting," concurred Ivanka Trump, who said that she had previously viewed polo matches in England, Palm Beach, and Greenwich, Connecticut. But the heiress and jewelry designer refused to wager for or against the Prince, whose team won in 2009. "You can't bet against a prince," she said, laughing. "It just wouldn't be appropriate."
Actress Susan Sarandon limped into the match, one foot in a black boot cast. "I've had to do horseback riding in a number of movies," she quipped. "If you have a smart horse, you can't ride badly."
And Mary J. Blige said it was her virgin match. "Ever, ever," she insisted. "And, yes, I want to meet Harry."
In the Veuve Clicquot-sponsored lunch tent, Prince Harry spoke of the Sentebale charity that he formed with Prince Seesio of Lesotho for orphans and at-risk children in that country. A nearby Figueras appeared crisp in a pinstriped blazer, a white shirt with three buttons opened, silver necklaces, white jeans, and suede slippers.
"Both our mothers [Prince Seesio was unable to attend] were very much loved and both loved people," Prince Harry told the well-heeled lunch crowd, saying that the Sentebale charity, which received proceeds from the event, brought "hope where there is none" to the "400,000 orphans of Lesotho . . . a spellbinding land."
After lunch, as a local firewoman sang the national anthem, Harry, now seated on a well-built pony, wore dark glasses. He wiped sweat from his brow in the crook of his arm.
As temperatures approximated those of Death Valley, the thundering action began on the field. Julianna Margulies stood in line for ice cream in pinstriped white pants, a sleeveless sweater, and a hat with a floppy bow. Heat practically removed the oxygen from the air as Prince Harry, knocked in two goals. In a particularly tense moment, he reached out to strike and hurtled over the side of his pony.
"He was very gallant," offered a Brit bystander, "hardly fell at all . . . almost landed on his feet."
"Kind of rolled," suggested a nearby photographer. Apparently, Harry's pony was nudged from behind at breakneck speed.
Viewing celebrities who also ride felt the impact. "Of course I ride," said Val Klimer. "I have a ranch."
"I'm a horseback rider," Margulies nodded.
Sustained by Voss water, Gayle King, wearing a broad sunhat borrowed from the fashion closet at Oprah magazine, said of Harry, "I admired his mom. I got up to see the funeral, the wedding, mourned when she died, and worried about him. It's nice to see him okay."
In sweltering overtime, tied at five goals each, Black Watch, the Figueras team, scored. Figueras, the face of three Ralph Lauren fragrances, circled the field waving his hat.
At the winner's podium, he was presented with a watch by Piaget and the sportsman announced that he would auction the time piece on the Veuve Clicquot website for the Prince's charity.
"We've had dinner together," offered the curvy supermodel Carol Alt. "Nacho is the most humble, sweet guy."
As a red faced Prince Harry strode from the field in leather boots up to his knees, his white jeans held up by a beaded belt, women and photographers called out his name.
"He's a great, great guy," said Nick Roldan, a nine-goal player out of Palm Beach and captain of Harry's Black Rock team. "I just know him as a polo friend."