Polo star Nacho Figueras was “bothered quite a bit” when a reporter implied that his good friend, Prince Harry, was ditching fatherly duties by attending a charity polo event in Rome just weeks after he and Meghan Markle welcomed their first child.
Figueras defended Harry at the time. "That's an assumption you're making," he told the reporter during the Sentebale Polo Cup three weeks ago. But he continued to explain his response to BAZAAR.com.
“In today's world when everything is going so fast, we tend to go, 'Oh, Prince Harry left his kid alone because he went to go play polo in Rome,'” he told us. “That was kind of a question that that guy made and that was totally and completely wrongly approached, right?”
The polo champ offered an alternative angle to the story. “'What a great guy. He leaves his two-week-old son and wife, [who] he loves and misses, to take a trip for twenty-four hours to help vulnerable children in Africa.' That's really the headline,” Figueras said. The event benefited Harry’s charity Sentebale, which supports children in Africa affected by the HIV epidemic.
“And that's really what he intended,” Figueras added. “It's his responsibility, it's not irresponsibility. So that bothered me quite a bit.”
Who is “the real” Prince Harry, then? To Figueras, a longtime friend and Sentebale supporter, he’s “a guy that makes an extreme effort to go help people.”
The Argentine athlete recalled moments working first-hand with the Duke of Sussex in Lesotho, one of the countries in which Sentebale operates. “When we are in Lesotho and when we are in Africa, he's the first one to wake up and first one to walk around the site and say, 'Why is that light not working? What's next? Do we know what are our plans for next month? Where are we with the programming in Botswana that we started? How can we do more? How can we raise more money?’ That's him," Figueras says.
The polo star has been an ambassador for Sentebale since 2013. His work for the organization has ranged from participating in charity polo matches to meeting with children being aided by the organization in Lesotho. Giving back is "very, very important" to the athlete, but what inspired him to get involved with Sentebale specifically was seeing Harry's dedication to the work.
"It's an honor to add my little grain of sand to such an amazing cause and help him do good," Figueras said. "I really like him and I respect him a lot and I'm honored to work along his side on this great cause."
He also insists the new royal dad “doesn’t need any advice” when it comes to parenting. “He knows exactly what he's doing,” he added. “And he has an incredible wife that's an incredible mother so they're good.”
Figueras is a father of four himself. He shares his kids-aged 19, 14, nine, and six-with his wife of 15 years, Delfina Balquier, a former model and photographer who also knows her way around a polo field. Earlier this month, she played alongside her husband at the 12th annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. The annual match and summertime fête overlooking the New York City skyline has become a stomping grounds for A-listers (Michael B. Jordan and Jennifer Lawrence were among attendees this year), champagne enthusiasts, and influencers. But for Figueras and Balquier, it was a family affair.
That also extended to his Father’s Day plans. Figueras spent the holiday relaxing on the West Coast with his family-the perfect wind-down from weeks of traveling and polo. "I very much believe in spending time together, creating moments, whatever those might be," he said. "It might be just sitting by the beach watching the horizon."
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