POLO & THE PRINCE

How Na­cho Figueras be­came close friends with a royal

WHO - - Contents - By Stephen Downie

He’s re­ally, re­ally ridicu­lously good­look­ing, is the most fa­mous polo player in the world and counts Prince Harry as one of his close pals. Say hello to hot as hell Ar­gen­tine, Ig­na­cio “Na­cho” Figueras, who is head­ing to Aus­tralia for The Star Gold Coast Magic Mil­lions Car­ni­val. How close are Figueras and Harry? The polo player and his glam­orous wife at­tended Harry and Meghan’s royal wed­ding in May this year. “It was an amaz­ing day and one I will al­ways re­mem­ber,” Figueras, 41, tells WHO.

The Duke of Sus­sex and Figueras – known glob­ally as the face of Ralph Lau­ren – have been friends for years and of­ten catch up at char­ity polo matches. “We met at a polo match for the Prince’s Sen­te­bale char­ity in 2007, in Eng­land,” Figueras says. Harry co­founded the char­ity in 2006 to pro­vide funds for chil­dren

liv­ing with HIV in Le­sotho. After this year’s Sen­te­bale Polo Cup, Figueras took to his In­sta­gram page, post­ing a pic­ture that showed him hold­ing a tro­phy while pho­to­bomb­ing a kiss be­tween Harry and Meghan. “When you wished the tro­phy would turn into a vi­olin. What an in­cred­i­ble love story,” he wrote.

Harry and Meghan wowed Aus­tralian fans in Oc­to­ber, when they toured here for the In­vic­tus Games. It was while in the coun­try the royal cou­ple an­nounced they were ex­pect­ing their first baby. Figueras – a fa­ther of four – paid tribute to the prince, say­ing, “What I re­spect most about him is how much he gen­uinely cares about mak­ing the world a bet­ter place”.

But Harry isn’t Figueras’ only royal con­nec­tion. At the Pa­cific Fair Magic Mil­lions Polo, on Jan. 6, he will shape up against the Queen’s grand­daugh­ter, Olympic cham­pion Zara Tin­dall, who was un­able to at­tend last year’s Magic Mil­lions car­ni­val. “Zara didn’t play last year be­cause she was preg­nant, so I am look­ing for­ward to match­ing up against her,” Figueras says.

With his chis­elled good looks and ath­leti­cism, it’s no sur­prise Figueras is some­times de­scribed as “the David Beck­ham of polo”. It’s a tag Figueras is happy to wear. “I have met David be­fore and he’s a great guy and some­one that has done so many great things for his sport,” he says. “It is an hon­our for me to be com­pared to him.”

The polo event kicks off a week of events at The Star Gold Coast Magic Mil­lions Car­ni­val, in­clud­ing The Star Gold Coast Magic Mil­lions Raceday, on Jan. 12, which of­fers $10 mil­lion in prize money. The car­ni­val is one of the big­gest rac­ing events of the year and will pump an es­ti­mated $780 mil­lion into the Queens­land econ­omy. And Figueras is one the key draw­cards. Join­ing him on the Gold Coast is his wife of 14 years, pho­tog­ra­pher and former model Del­fina Blaquier, who also plays polo (of course) and is friends with Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ter Gwyneth Pal­trow.

Figueras says it didn’t take much to con­vince his wife to travel to the Gold Coast with him for Magic Mil­lions. “She said yes right away!” he laughs. “She is go­ing to love it. We play to­gether at home and we also played to­gether at all these re­ally cool events in New York and Los An­ge­les. I love play­ing with her.”

When they’re not at­tend­ing royal wed­dings and jet-set­ting about the world, Figueras and Blaquier call Buenos Aires home. They live on a farm with their four chil­dren and polo ponies. The chil­dren all ride horses and play polo.

“We love stay­ing at home,” Figueras says. “We spend a lot of time with the kids on the horses and with the an­i­mals that we have. It is our favourite time.”

“It is an hon­our to be com­pared to David Beck­ham”

Model cou­ple: Na­cho Figueras and his wife, Del­fina Blaquier, will be in Aus­tralia for The Star Gold Coast Magic Mil­lions. Ar­gentina’s Figueras is con­sid­ered one of the great­est polo play­ers in the world.

Walk and talk. Figueras and Prince Harry chat, while their wives Blaquier and Meghan fol­low.

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