Over 300 guests watched Prince Harry play a charity polo match in Singapore earlier this month. Here's a closer look at his whirlwind trip to our sunny shores.
The Prince is a charmer
No wonder polo is called the sport of kings—if you know what you're doing, as Prince Harry certainly does, polo players look impressively regal astride their handsome steeds. To raise funds for his charity, Sentebale, Prince Harry took to the field at the Singapore Polo Club for the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup and not only did his team win the match, he even scored the winning ball in the final chukka of the closely fought game. (Maybe the crowd helped—there were lots of cheers for him whenever he rode near the spectator stands.)
Taking to the stage at the post-tournament dinner at the St Regis Singapore, he thanked Malcolm Borwick, Royal Salute World Polo Ambassador, and Nacho Figueras, Sentebale and St. Regis Ambassador, for "following me to play polo matches in really quite hot climates, all for a good cause". Indeed, the red-haired fair-skinned royal looked noticeably sunburnt by the end of the match, which took place on truly sweltering afternoon, even by Singapore's standards.
He takes after his mother
Princess Diana was known for being an early and high-profile advocate for a better understanding of HIV and AIDS, so as to dispel the stigma surrounding those living with these conditions. In 1991, she chose to be photographed shaking hands, without gloves, with a resident of a Canadian AIDS hospice, and said: "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it." This is still remembered as a landmark moment.
Today, the fight against HIV/AIDS has become one of Prince Harry's most high-profile advocacy issues. While in Singapore, he met the staff and volunteers of non-governmental organisation Action For Aids, to learn more about the the challenges facing the HIV-positive community in Singapore. Sentabale, a charity he co-founded with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006, provides thousands of children and young people affected by HIV/AIDS in Lesotho (a small country in southern Africa) with vital access to care, education and psychosocial support.
He's a compelling public speaker
He didn't do any media interviews during his time in Singapore, and even at the post-tournament dinner at the St Regis Singapore, didn't seem to do much mingling. That desire for pivacy is understandeable—just watching the battalion of camera lenses trained on him during the polo match was intimidating, and we can't imagine what it's like to deal with this level of scrutiny on a daily basis. When it matters though, Prince Harry is willing and able to step into the limelight.
His short speech at the dinner was both compelling and sincere. He began by praising the beautiful ballroom, immediately endearing himself to everyone. He also did a great job of connecting with the local audience, and framing the AIDS issue for them.
He's not the first prince to have played polo in Singapore
The Singapore Polo Club has hosted quite a few members of Prince Harry's family. That's his grandfather, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, fourth from left in the photo below, with his team at the Singapore Polo Club in 1965.
In 1974, Prince Harry's father Charles, Prince of Wales, also played at the Club (that's him in the centre of the photo below).
He's keeping mum about his love life
One guest at the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup mentioned this interesting factoid while making some brief remarks at the event, and added that he hoped the club would also welcome a new generation of the family in the future. He could just be talking about royal tots Prince George and Princess Charlotte, of course, but we couldn't help but think of the building speculation that an engagement might soon be coming for Prince Harry and his girlfriend, actress Meghan Markle. We couldn't tell if the same thought occurred to Prince Harry when the quip was made—he was a tad far away from where we were standing, and maybe that sunburn helps mask facial expressions too.
This article first appeared on sg.asiatatler.com.