Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Royal SaluteLast weekend, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made their first visit to the U.S. to promote British exports. The highlight of the royal visit to the Los Angeles area was a polo event in which Prince William's team competed at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Carpenteria.
The polo event turned out to be the battle of luxury brands, as teams sponsored by Audi and American Express's Centurion, took turns competing against Prince William's Royal Salute Foundation team. The event couldn't have been better scripted had it been penned by a Hollywood screenwriter. The Duke of Cambridge's Royal Salute team won the Foundation Polo Challenge after an exhilarating competition in which William scored four goals, three of which were made during the last few minutes of the final chukka.
The Tiffany-designed Silver Cup was presented to Prince William's winning Royal Salute teammates by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. The Duke and Duchess' public display of affection on the winner's stage may well have been the first since their famous kiss on balcony of Windsor Castle on the day of their marriage in late April.
The event itself had a noble mission: it raised millions of dollars for the American Friends of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, which supports three separate missions: sustainable development at home and overseas; veteran's welfare; and vulnerable young people in society.
"The event was a win-win for everyone," says Torquhil Ian Campbell, who is the 13th Duke of Argyll (seen to the left) and a longtime patron of and representative for Royal Salute. "Royal Salute represents the very best of luxury whisky from Scotland while the Duke and Duchess were here to promote British exports. At the same time, Royal Salute is involved to support the sport and also help great charitable causes."
Royal Salute, which is a luxury whisky brand within the Chivas Regal portfolio, has long been associated with the British royal family. The brand was launched in honor of and in conjunction with Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953 and today, the association with royal family continues with Royal Salute serving as one of the main sponsors of charity polo events that involve Prince Harry and Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. The association of the Royal Salute brand with the royal family and with the sport of polo, is a strategy that works for Chivas Regal.
"Royal Salute really has become the 'King of Whiskies,' as it is the top selling luxury Scotch whisky in the world," adds the Duke who is also the Master of the Royal Household of Scotland. "At the same time, polo is the sport of kings. It is a sport that has been played by kings, princes, sultans, maharajas, and dukes. And so these are two things that fit very well together."
"Yes, Royal Salute is a luxury whisky that is very expensive and polo is a very elite sport that is very glamorous," adds the Duke. "Polo showcases great skill, ability and determination. Polo in one form or the other, is one of the oldest sports in the world. It has been played for thousands of years. Some people say it goes back to the Maharajas of India and some people say it goes back to Genghis Kahn."
"The fact is, polo is a very old sport, showcasing not just the skill of the people who play it, but the great skills and the fitness of the horses," continues the Duke. "So there are many aspects where it all comes together to make it a very fast, exciting spectacle. And as a brand, Royal Salute ties in very nicely with what polo is all about. It really is a perfect match."
The brand has sponsored many other polo events, including The Sentebale Polo Cup which took place in mid-June at Coworth Park Ascot outside of London. There, Prince William's Royal Salute Foundation Team was pitted against Prince Harry's Sentebale team in a closely fought contest.
Before the Santa Barbara Polo event began, at a private reception, Prince William chatted with Christian Porta, Chief Executive of Chivas Regal and the Duke of Argyll, about the friendly rivalry he enjoys on the polo field with his younger brother. He laughed as he recalled how pleased he was that his Royal Salute team prevailed over Harry's and won the Sentebale Polo Cup.
In addition to Sentebale and The Foundation Polo Challenge, Royal Salute sponsors several other polo events around the world including the Royal Salute Tang Polo Cup on Beijing, China, The Royal Salute Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Jubilee Cup in Jodhpur, India, The Nation's Cup in Dubai, UAE, and the Triple Crown Tournament, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Prior to the polo competition in Santa Barbara, a sumptuous lunch prepared by celebrity Chef Giada De Laurentiis was served to the Duke and the Duchess as well as other VIP guests including locals from the Santa Barbara area, and actors such as Billy Zane, Rob Lowe, Rosario Dawson and musician/actor Joe Jonas.
The tent was lavishly decorated in Tiffany & Co.'s famous Tiffany Blue and white color combination, as Tiffany served as a co-sponsor of the event. The event also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club.
While the polo competition was the highlight of the weekend, Royal Salute also hosted several other exclusive events including a VIP dinner at Soho House in Los Angeles and an after-party following the polo match in West Hollywood at Chateau Marmont attended by a slew of celebrities including Billy Zane, Joe and Kevin Jonas, Matthew Rhys, Harry Lennix and Dylan McDermott. Guests enjoyed a bar that featured a wide variety of Royal Salute and Chivas Regal Scotch whiskies paired with mini gourmet burgers and mini cupcakes from SusieCakes.