Prince Plays the Sport of Kings at Santa Barbara Polo Club

Between a $4,000-a-ticket polo game and $25,000-a-table dinner the Royal Twosome will raise between $6-7 million in one day.

By Kevin Patra
|  Friday, Feb 17, 2012  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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Prince William speaks before Polo match at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club

Prince William speaks before Polo match at Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club

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Royal Watchers Crowd Polo Match in Carpinteria

It was a beautiful day for polo. Prince William and Catherine continued their California tour in Santa Barbara for lunch, a celebrity-filled red carpet and polo. The Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club in Carpenteria played host as royal watchers paid anywhere from $400 to $4,000 for a ticket to the match. During a pre-polo news conference, the Prince was asked if he?d return to Southern California.?That depends on the result out there today ? I?m not a good loser.?You can make book that he?ll return. Prince William went out and scored four goals as his team won, 5-2.
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The Royal Couple’s whirlwind tour in Southern California takes on a turn for the regal on Saturday.

The Royal Twosome landed in Los Angeles Friday afternoon to giddy glee from local fans trying to catch a glimpse of the pair as they arrived and made their way to the Beverly Hilton.

“I think there is an irony, because we just celebrated 4th of July, when America celebrated throwing the royals out in 1776 and now, of course, it’s obvious we can’t get enough of them,” said Richard Mineards, who has covered the Royal Family for 35 years.

The second day of their stay promises to ooze glitz, glamor and create high society gridlock starting at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.

The polo match with Prince William is a three-team round-robin tournament. The price to gallop for an hour with the Duke of Cambridge has been reported from $60,000 to $100,000. Those willing to pony up the dough include Andrew Busch, of Busch Beer. The proceeds of the event are going towards The American Friends of The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry.

For those Americans not versed in Prince William’s polo playing skills, Mineards added an interesting tidbit, saying that William’s younger brother Harry is actually the better of the two players. Mineards said one reason may be that William is left-handed, but polo rules dictate that players may only play right handed. So William has had to lean to play the sport with his non-dominant hand—imagine if Kobe Bryant could only shoot left-handed.

Off the field will be filled with fashion, grandeur and “of course, hats,” said Mineards.

Six-hundred spectators have paid $4000 for a chance to eat lunch in the tent with Royal Couple.

Across from the polo field 2000 spectators have paid a peasants sum of $400 to sit on bleachers and eat a bag lunch.

“A spam sandwich and a royal glimpse,” Mineards quipped of the bleacher seats.

In contrast, the Royal lunch at the polo grounds is being prepared by Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network fans will know her from the show "Everyday Italian."

"Everybody wants to pull out all the stops. They want to come out and be colorful and correct," said Mineards. "They all want to be seen by Kate and William in hopes that they come and talk with them."

Locals who can afford the ticket price aren’t the only ones who wanted a piece of the Royal Pair. Mineards reported that Tiffany’s is the lead sponsor of the event, contributing about $1 million. The British reporter also said those putting on the event were bombarded with companies wanting to get in on the couple’s appeal.

Between admissions and sponsorships the afternoon event is reported to bring in between $4 and $4.5 million.

The fundraising doesn’t end there either, as the couple is then being whisked back to downtown Los Angeles for a black-tie dinner at the Belasco Theater. William is president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which will host the event, and is expected to speak at the dinner. Tables at the dinner are a reported $25,000 a piece. A crowd of 40 up-and-coming British actors, director and producers will be in attendance as well as local A-list crowd, including the likes of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin, and Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony.

The price of the evening event isn’t the only thing causing a stir, as British tabloids have been a twitter with reports that Kate’s evening wear will be a nude-colored chiffon dress.

Wherever the Duchess goes speculation and analysis of her fashion follows. Mineards said she was wearing on average of three different outfits a day on her 7-day tour in Canada. He also said she is actually wearing some of the Queen’s jewelry during her trip, because “she doesn’t really have any major pieces of bling herself, yet.”

Mineards said between $6 and $7 million will be raised from Saturday’s two extravagant events.

The wave of excitement that the Royal Duo has set off in Southern California seems to be equaled in the amount of money they are able to raise in less than a 12-hour period.

“And this is right at the beginning, they’ve only been married for two months and they’ve already become stellar superstars,” Mineards said. “They are the most famous couple in the world.”

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