Oak Brook officials invite Prince Harry to play polo in the village

oakOak Brook officials are hoping in 2016 to recapture a magical moment from 30 years ago.

To celebrate the 1986 visit of Prince Charles to Oak Brook for a polo match, Village President Gopal Lalmalani has written a letter of invitation for Prince Harry, Charles’ younger son, to visit Oak Brook for a match during the 2016 polo season. The letter was given to the British Consul General in Chicago and was to be hand-delivered to Prince Harry, Lalmalani said.

“It would be wonderful if Prince Harry came to Oak Brook next year for polo,” Lalmalani said. “We have a long, wonderful history of polo in Oak Brook, and it certainly would be a great thing for Oak Brook and the entire area if Prince Harry accepted our invitation to come here. Maybe, he will bring his father with him.”

Jim Pehta, co-chairman of the Oak Brook Polo Committee for the past three years, said he plans to reach out to polo supporter Michael Butler, the son of Oak Brook founder Paul Butler.

“Michael Butler is still close to [Prince Charles],” Pehta said. “We can talk to him about inviting Charles back. It would be wonderful if Harry and/or Charles came next year. It would be outstanding for polo and polo in Oak Brook.”

It was Butler who invited Prince Charles to play a chukker, or six, of polo back in 1986, an invitation that turned into a four-day visit to Chicago and Boston, according to Chicago Tribune coverage at the time. After the visit to Boston, Prince Charles came Chicago and attended the Oak Brook Polo Ball in the Walnut Room of Marshall Field’s on State Street.

The following day, after morning events in Chicago, the prince came to Oak Brook to compete with the British team in an afternoon match for the Prince of Wales Cup against Oak Brook’s team.


Twitter: @chuckwriting

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