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Prince Harry was photographed arriving in an electric Audi E-Tron before boarding a private jet to attend a one-day charity event in Aspen, Colorado.
The Duke of Sussex’s departure from Santa Barbara, California, was reportedly delayed for around 30 minutes on Wednesday. The 37-year-old allegedly sent a Range Rover, a separate vehicle, back to Montecito to collect his polo equipment for the event that featured his longtime polo pal Nacho Figueras.
An airport golf cart met with the Range Rover and shuttled the British royal’s bodyguard back with his sports equipment. Harry boarded Bombardier Challenger 600 which, according to reports, is owned by Marc Ganzi, a businessman and a polo enthusiast.
Harry played to raise money for his HIV charity Sentebale, The Telegraph reported. According to the outlet, it is believed Harry was offered a lift on the jet, which was already carrying people to the polo tournament. He flew back to California by commercial airline.
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Harry, whose causes include environmental awareness, previously defended his use of private jets for security reasons.
“I spend 99% of my life traveling the world by commercial,” he explained in 2019. “Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure my family is safe, and it’s genuinely as simple as that. But as I said in my speech, for me, it’s about balance.”
That year, Harry’s older brother, Prince William, was praised for flying commercial, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were criticized for using private jets to take trips. The British press labeled the couple as hypocrites for campaigning on environmental issues. At one point, Elton John defended the pair after they took a private jet to stay with him in southern France. The singer said he had paid for the jet for security reasons and had also paid for carbon offsetting of the flights.
In July, Harry gave a keynote speech at the UN General Assembly’s annual celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day, where he urged leaders to address converging crises, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, the “horrific” war in Ukraine and “the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States.”
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After the tournament in Aspen, Harry spoke of his late mother, Princess Diana, at a dinner, The Telegraph reported. The 25th anniversary of her passing is on Aug. 31. The father of two said he will mark the day privately with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their children.
“Next week is the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death, and she most certainly will never be forgotten,” he was quoted as saying. “I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it. I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her.”
“Every day, I hope to do her proud,” he continued. “She was tireless in her work to support and destigmatize those experiencing HIV/AIDS. Fittingly, her favorite flowers were forget-me-nots. I hope we can remember my mother’s legacy by recommitting to those we serve, whoever and wherever that may be .”
Figueras told People magazine that Harry is enjoying his life in California, where he’s raising his Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 1.
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“[My wife] Delfi and I have known Harry for a very long time,” said the 45-year-old. “I know firsthand how much he wanted to have a family. He found an amazing teammate, or partner, in Meghan. They love each other very much; their children are lovely.”
“Being able to be with them for the last two months only made me happy — seeing them be a lovely family with their kids and their dogs, and that’s really what he always wanted,” Figueras shared. “I’m very happy for them.”
Figueres noted that Harry has been deeply committed to his charity work.
“Fast forward 15 years, I’ve been to Lesotho with him a few times, and I’ve seen what great work the charity does and how important it is for a lot of kids, how committed he is, how much he really cares about it,” he said.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s departures from royal duties began in 2020 over what they described as the British media’s intrusions and racist attitudes toward the former American actress, 41. The family now resides in the coastal city of Montecito.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.