Prince Harry took a break from his alleged reality star lifestyle in order to return to his roots on Friday, when he made another appearance on the polo field in Santa Barbara – just days after it was claimed that he and Meghan Markle are filming a Kardashians-style docuseries as part of their $100 million Netflix deal.
Despite quitting his royal life in the UK, the 37-year-old once again proved that his passion for one of the country’s most traditional sports remains just as strong as ever as he joined his teammates at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club, where he was seen limbering up for the match with some stretches, before hitting the field.
The Duke of Sussex, who plays for the California-based team Los Padres, which lists him as Harry Wales on its roster, was pictured squatting and stretching out his arms in front of a team-branded tent ahead of the game, looking low-key and casual in a navy T-shirt and baseball cap.
Before hitting the field, Harry swapped his cap for a protective helmet, and traded his navy shirt for his team’s green uniform, while also adding some kneepads, gloves, and riding boots.
The venue where Harry was playing is located close to the $14 million Montecito mansion where he lives with wife Meghan, 40, and their two children, three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet, however there were no sign of the rest of his family at this week’s game.
Prince Harry was pictured limbering up for a polo match on Friday, when he joined his teammates at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club for the latest in a series of games he is expected to play in the coming months
Harry’s appearance on the polo field came just days after it was claimed that he and Meghan Markle have been filming an ‘at-home with the Sussexes-style’ docuseries for Netflix as part of their $100 million deal with the streaming giant
Despite quitting his royal life in the UK, Harry has maintained his passion for one of the country’s most traditional sports – and according to Meghan’s journalist pal Omid Scobie, he has committed to the entire 12-goal season with Los Padres
Friday’s match marked the first round of the Lisle Nixon Cup, which will run until May 29 and will see the Duke – who is listed on the team as Harry Wales – returning to the field on Sunday
There was also no sign of any Netflix camera crews at the event – which comes just days after it was claimed that Harry and Meghan have been filming an ‘at-home with the Sussexes-style’ docuseries for Netflix as part of their $100 million deal with the streaming giant, which was inked in September 2020.
According to Page Six, the couple has already welcomed cameras into their sprawling Montecito home – although it is unclear whether their two children will feature in the series, which Netflix is reportedly hoping will be ready for release by the end of the year, in order to coincide with the publication of Harry’s upcoming memoir.
But while news of the docuseries sparked much controversy and concern earlier this week over what allegations Harry and Meghan might air against the royal family, it looked to be the furthest thing from Harry’s mind as he focused his attentions on the match.
Images taken during the sporting event show the Duke going through a range of emotions, at one point laughing happily while sitting atop his polo pony, before later looking stressed and even upset as his team fought to overcome their opponents, Mokarow Farms.
Friday’s match was the first round of the Lisle Nixon Cup, which began today and will run until May 29. Harry and his Los Padres teammates are due to play their next match in the tournament on Sunday, when they will face Klentner Ranch.
The tournament was established in 1978 in ‘honor of former Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club Manager Lisle Nixon’, who passed away in 1977, the club’s website explains.
Harry plays on the Los Padres team with his long-time friend Nacho Figueras, who was a guest at the Sussexes’ May 2018 wedding and also serves as an ambassador for Sentebale, an organization founded by the Duke, which is dedicated to helping children and young people who or whose family’s suffer with HIV and AIDs in Lesotho, South Africa.
Last month, after the pair played in a tournament together at the Santa Barbara club, Nacho paid tribute to their long-lasting friendship on Instagram, writing: ‘Thrilled to be riding alongside my friend, Prince Harry, and the rest of the Los Padres team at the Santa Barbara Polo Club’s Harry East Memorial Tournament.
‘We’ve ridden together many times over the years and now that we’re both parents, it’s extra special to be able to spend this time together.
After completing his warm-up, Harry changed out of his navy T-shirt and baseball cap and into his team’s green uniform, while also adding a pair of riding boots, kneepads, gloves, and a protective helmet to his outfit
The father-of-two appeared to go through a series of different emotions during the match, smiling at one point – but later looking somewhat dejected, perhaps as a result of his team’s loss
He seemed to be having a great time on the field however – although he had to go without the support of Meghan, 40, and their two children – three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet, who were not seen at the venue
Harry has been playing polo since he was a young boy and has been playing regularly during the latest season in California
The Duke was seen chatting with his teammates throughout the game
‘The name Los Padres was inspired by the proximity of the field to the Los Padres National Forest and also by our connection as fathers.’
But while the pair are seasoned pros when it comes to playing polo, their expertise – and indeed their long-time collaboration on the field – couldn’t help them to secure a win and Los Padres ended up losing to their opponents 10-18.
Still, the pair will have plenty of other opportunities to achieve victory together on the polo field.
Earlier this month, Meghan’s journalist pal Omid Scobie revealed that the Duke of Sussex is planning to play the entire 12-goal season with his Santa Barbara-based team.
The Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club has attracted beginners and advanced players since being established in 1911.
In the first week of May, the Finding Freedom author said that Harry was going to participate in the Folded Hills Pope Challenge between May 9 and 15, the Lisle Nixon Cup from May 20 to 29, as well as the Cheval Athletics USPA Intra-Circuit, which runs June 3 to 19.
Harry’s commitment to the June tournament could mean that he is not planning to attend the entirety of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – though he could still attend main events if his schedule permits it.
The jubilee bank holiday begins in the UK on Thursday, June 2, running to Sunday, June 5, with royal family appearances expected on the Buckingham Palace balcony at either end of the celebration.
Harry and Meghan are understood to be planning to attend Trooping the Colour on Thursday, although it is unclear whether they are going to be present at any other events.
The Duke of Sussex has previously said he is not able to come back to the UK with his family safely unless there is a change in his security arrangements – but the Sussexes would enjoy full security, along with other royals, at jubilee events.
The Duke’s commitment to the full polo season could mean that he is not planning to attend the entirety of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations – though he could still attend main events if his schedule permits it
The season includes a tournament – the Cheval Athletics USPA Intra-Circuit – which runs from June 3 to 19; the jubilee bank holiday in the UK begins on Thursday, June 2 and runs until Sunday, June 5
Harry seemed to hold nothing back during the match and was seen racing against his opponents for the ball
Despite suffering a 10-18 loss to Mokarow Farms, Harry maintained his sportsmanship and was seen shaking hands with his opponents at the end of the match
His appearance at the polo match comes just days after sources claimed that Harry and Meghan have been working on a Kardashians-style docuseries for Netflix
It has already been confirmed by the Queen that Harry and Meghan will not be invited onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace for Trooping the Colour. A sensational statement issued on behalf of Her Majesty on May 6 said that only royals who are currently carrying out official public duties will appear on the balcony at the event.
This means that Harry and Meghan – as well as Prince Andrew – will not be included.
A palace spokesman said: ‘The Queen has decided this year’s traditional Trooping the Colour balcony appearance on Thursday June 2 will be limited to Her Majesty and those members of the royal family who are currently undertaking official public duties on behalf of the Queen.’
But it is understood the Sussexes have been invited to other jubilee events – likely to include the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday June 3. Andrew is also expected to be there.
It is unclear whether the news of Harry and Meghan’s new Netflix docuseries will have an impact on their plans to attend the jubilee celebrations.
Harry’s latest appearance at the polo comes just days after his and Meghan’s ‘at-home docuseries’ was branded a royal Keeping Up with the Kardashians for Netflix, with sources describing the news of the show as evidence that Netflix has finally secured its ‘pound of flesh’ in return for their $100million Megxit streaming deal.
The Sussexes are said to have welcomed cameras into their $14million Montecito mansion for a reality-type series that could be in the mold of The Osbournes – although it is not yet known if the couple’s two children, three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet, will also feature.
‘I think it’s fair to say that Netflix is getting its pound of flesh,’ a Hollywood insider in the know about the project claimed to Page Six.
The at home reality show was pioneered by The Osbournes, which made Ozzy and Sharon the king and queen of reality TV in the noughties. The mantle was then taken on by the Kardashians, who are now in their 20th season and are worth a collective $1.4billion. The format would likely suit Harry and Meghan, who have demanded control over their media messaging since emigrating in 2020. But they also demanded privacy, so a reality show has raised eyebrows amongst royal experts who have suggested it is a paradox.
And with just two weeks until the Sussexes all fly into the UK for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the story in the US will raise anxieties at Buckingham Palace that the couple will use it to fire more transatlantic potshots at the Royal Family.
While news of the docuseries sparked controversy and concern earlier this week over what allegations the Sussexes might air against the royal family, it looked to be the furthest thing from Harry’s mind as he focused his attentions on the match
Harry looked focused and relaxed as he prepared to make his way onto the pitch alongside his Los Padres teammates
Harry will return to the polo field on Sunday, when his team will go up against Klentner Ranch in the next round of the tournament, which runs until May 29
The Queen’s aides are said to have already banned Harry and Meghan’s camera crews from her palaces as she marks her extraordinary 70-year reign.
Sources suggest that the Sussexes are angling for the docuseries’ broadcast to be delayed until early next year, around the time Harry is expected to release his tell-all memoirs where he will likely have another say on Megxit as well the Sussexes’ claims that an unnamed royal was racist towards Archie and aides neglected his wife when she was suicidal and pregnant.
‘The timing is still being discussed, things are up in the air,’ a ‘producer in the know’ claimed, adding that the cameras had been rolling at their grand home in Montecito.
Harry and Meghan are understood to have invited cameras into their Montecito home to film for the show, however it is unknown whether their children – three-year-old Archie and 11-month-old Lilibet – will appear in it
The ‘at-home docuseries’ is one of the couple’s main media projects after Netflix, which has seen its share price tumble after subscribers dropped as the pandemic fizzled out, prompting the company to scrap Meghan’s animated show Pearl, which was about a young girl inspired by Meghan who takes on social injustices while highlighting the work of feminist icons.
The Duchess of Sussex is said to be looking for another broadcaster to buy it up.
Amid rumors that a reality show was in the offing, Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle said last month: ‘They’re not the Kardashians. That’s comparing apples to oranges. The Kardashians were an American business empire and everyone knows their background’.
Another Page Six insider described the plans for the docuseries as Netflix ‘getting its pound of flesh’ from the Sussexes, who have yet to create any real content for the streaming giant – despite signing their lucrative deal with the company in September 2020.
DailyMail.com has reached out to a Netflix spokesperson and Archewell Productions for comment.
The news comes amid growing concerns about Harry’s upcoming $20 million memoir, in which he is expected to publicly tell all about his relationship with his estranged family.
Royal insiders have been left deeply concerned by Harry’s decision to secretly collaborate with Pulitzer-winning ghostwriter JR Moehringer on what his publishers described as ‘the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him’.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William are said to have been completely blindsided by Harry’s shock announcement that he has been secretly working on his as yet untitled memoirs for more than a year now.
Royal experts had previously warned that the potentially explosive book could burn further bridges with the distant Duke and The Firm.
However the docuseries claims could not have come at a better time for Netflix, which has been undergoing major cutbacks as a result of slumping subscriber numbers.