Prince Harry had two dramatic falls from his polo pony today as he played a fundraising match for his South African charity, Sentebale.
The 31-year-old Prince, an accomplished polo player, stunned onlookers as he literally went head over heels – flying across his pony’s head and landing on his knees shortly after scoring his team’s first goal.
Harry took a shot about 20 minutes into the match, held near Cape Town, before his pony appeared to falter. He broke his fall with his hands before getting to his feet and walking to calm his mount. He returned to the action a few minutes later.
The match, which saw the Sentebale team go up against opponents Royal Salute, ended in a loss for Harry at 7-8, but not before the Prince took another tumble, this time as he clashed with two other players.
Seeing the comedy in the situation, he bowed graciously to the crowd whilst grinning shortly after his second fall.
Crowds assembled to watch the Prince and company at the exclusive Val de Vie Estate, which brings together a host of high-end properties, restaurants and equestrian facilities. Harry arrived wearing a blue cotton shirt and white chinos and exchanged a few handshakes and smiles before changing into his match gear.
The teams played in aid of Sentebale, which Harry co-founded in 2006 with Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso. The charity works with local grassroots organisations to help children who are victims of extreme poverty and Lesotho’s HIV/AIDS issues.
In a message for the match’s official programme, the two men said: “It is wonderful to be here in South Africa, at the Val de Vie estate, for the 2015 Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup.
“The success of our previous five polo events has helped Sentebale make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children in Lesotho. We have no doubt that this year’s event will be even more successful.
“Your support is vital. The situation in Lesotho remains critical and every day children continue to lose their parents to the HIV/Aids epidemic. Sentebale works to protect and support these children providing them with basic necessities we take for granted: food, shelter, care and access to education.”
Like his father, The Prince of Wales, and grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh, Harry is an experienced polo player and frequently plays the sport. Recently, the Prince has used it as a form of charity fundraising and staged the first Sentebale Polo Cup in 2010 in Barbados. Since then it has been held in the UK, America, Abu Dhabi and Brazil, raising over £3 million.
Harry also fell during the inaugural 2010 match but so far has escaped unscathed on all occasions. His father Charles has not been so lucky in the past. In 1990, he broke his right arm after a fall and required considerable treatment. He also suffered a fracture to his shoulder bone in 2001.
Prince Harry will continue his engagements in Cape Town on Monday when he’ll visit a rehabilitation centre for children who have committed gang related crimes followed by a visit to a football-based project.
The seven-day tour will also see the Prince travel to Kruger National Park, Durban and Johannesburg before returning to the UK.