‘Clearly genuine happiness’ Prince Harry ‘more his own man’ without Meghan Markle

Prince Harry plays polo in California

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The couple, who live in the Montecito neighbourhood of Santa Barbara, California, have looked to integrate into the community of their new home. Prince Harry, who has played polo since childhood, regularly plays the sport for the local team, Los Padres.

He plays alongside long-time friend and professional player, Nacho Figueras.

During a match with the team earlier this month, body language expert Darren Stanton noted a “confidence and resilience” in the Duke that is not always present at engagements with his wife.

The Duchess of Sussex, 40, was not at the match.

Mr Stanton told Marie Claire magazine: “Harry seems to be more of his own man when attending events on his own, as he has a confidence and resilience we don’t tend to see when he’s accompanied by Meghan Markle.”

Mr Stanton pinpointed sport and competition as the areas in which Prince Harry appears “genuinely most happy”.

He said: “It’s really interesting that Prince Harry appears always at his most relaxed and genuinely most happy when he’s either at the Invictus Games interacting with all the other athletes and attendees, or at other sporting occasions such as the polo.

“When Harry is on his horse, you can see the determination in his face to do well at heart.”

Prince Harry is a founding member of the Invictus Games, a competition for wounded or sick armed service personnel and veterans.

The Games, first launched back in 2014, most recently took place in the Hague in April, with the Duke making the trip to the Netherlands with Meghan for the event.

He spent a decade in the military himself, completing two tours of Afghanistan.

Mr Stanton added: “Harry is a team player having been in the military, so he sometimes must find it quite hard to be in California away from loved ones in the UK.

“However, at the weekend polo game his face was one of absolute elation and happiness as he played the sport and mingled with others.”

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“With his whole face engaged and his crow’s feet visible at the side of his eyes in photos from the event, it’s clearly a genuine feeling of happiness.”

During the match, Prince Harry was spotted chatting with Canadian music producer and musician, David Foster, who was watching from the sidelines with his wife, Katharine McPhee.

Mr Stanton observed: “Prince Harry spoke with David Foster, with whom he appears to have forged a great friendship.

“You can see the excitement in Harry‘s body language when he’s talking with David.”

Mr Foster, 72, has been labelled Prince Harry’s “father figure” across the pond, just a year younger than Prince Charles, 73.

Ms McPhee told Access Hollywood in 2020: “My husband has a really, really beautiful relationship with Harry.

“They’re so cute. They’re like father and son.”

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