This weekend, Prince William partook in the BMG Foundation’s 22nd annual GCC Polo Cup— a charity polo match— alongside a team of Saudi Arabian royals at one of England’s oldest sporting grounds in Cambridge. Fitting then, that for the occasion, the British royal, who welcomed a baby boy with his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge in April, donned a T-shirt from Toby by Hatem Alakeel. “I am honored to have been given the amazing opportunity to design for the Duke of Cambridge HRH Prince William. My venture into sportswear could not have been more special,” said the Saudi designer on Instagram.
Alakeel, who has a unique talent when it comes to creating traditional Middle Eastern garments with a universal appeal and contemporary twist, goes on to explain that he was tasked to design a piece for the tournament in an assignment he “will cherish forever.” The result was a green polo shirt with black lining on the collar and sleeves, worn by all members of the host team, BMG Financial, and a light-blue version, worn by the Cambridge County Polo Club team.
The British royal isn’t the only public figure to find favor in the menswear designer’s clothing. Alakeel’s expansive list of clientele includes Snoop Dog, Sheikh Majed Al Sabah, and Christian Louboutin, though he admits that dressing the royal is a moment he’ll never forget. “I have always had a soft spot and admiration for Princess Diana, so to me this is very special. To think that her son is wearing Toby is beyond my wildest dreams,” he says.
The match is considered to be the oldest joint Saudi-British charitable social and diplomatic event, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for numerous humanitarian and environmental causes across the globe each year. In the past, members of the royal family from both nations, including HH King Salman and HM Queen Elizabeth, have participated.