Marchioness of Milford Haven
Co-Founder & Trustee, James' Place.
Ambassador, Jaeger-LeCoultre. Polo player.
This Conversation is with a very special lady indeed, Clare Mountbatten, Marchioness of Milford Haven. She is a courageous polo player who pulls her weight amongst the men. Clare is also keeping the women’s polo game in the public eye.
As Trustee and Co-Founder of James’ Place, Clare is being recognized for raising the profile of mental health issues, specifically for men. As compassionate as she is driven, she is making a difference helping others. We speak to Clare about her love of horses, effortless style and the extraordinary way she continues her son’s legacy.
Clare Milford Haven, a highly capable player amongst men.
Who, or what, has influenced your sense of style?
Being half-American and spending my summers on Nantucket Island, I was influenced by the casual chic style of Ralph Lauren. As I became older, and my lifestyle centered around polo, that style has only endured.
What are your timeless wardrobe staples?
My wardrobe staples are nothing fancy I’m afraid! For the daytime, I favor a basic Zara jeans and t-shirt look, combined with Brora cashmere sweaters in the winter. For more formal evening wear, I have collected some fabulous long dresses from BCBG. I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination! I live on a farm, run a charity, and from time to time need to dress up; so my wardrobe very much reflects my lifestyle.
What is your go-to look when you attend a local polo match vs. a formal polo event?
At local polo events, I wear jeans, t-shirts, trainers, and my Gallagher team jacket. For a more formal polo event, I would wear a beautiful Sterling & Singh silk dress or something from Claire Mischevani, a designer I use a lot in the UK.
How did you first get involved with the sport of polo? What do you love most about it?
My husband George involved me in polo. He had played for years and wanted me to have a go. I was hooked right from the start!
I have been playing now for twenty-five years and in twenty different countries, including three where I was representing England. I love team sports and the camaraderie of being part of a team. I love horses and have ridden since I was four years old.
How has your horsemanship influenced your taste in design?
I have a multitude of equestrian photos, paintings and bronzes in my house and office; I have definitely been influenced by my love of horses. I love leather and suede chairs and cushions, and I buy old gaucho lassos when I go to Argentina. I also have a fabulous collection of old spurs given to me by my Stepfather.
You have represented the iconic brand, Jaeger-LeCoultre, for many years. Tell us more about this relationship.
My relationship with Jaeger-LeCoultre began in 2004, when I approached them with the idea of sponsoring my Team. I never realized, then, how this would develop into the longstanding relationship it has become – a relationship that has loyalty and support both ways.
I feel very honored to represent this iconic watch brand with so much polo history, both on and off the polo field. To be able to run my own teams, under the Jaeger-LeCoultre banner, has given me a great sense of independence while pursuing my passion for polo. Jaeger-LeCoultre have been so supportive of me and my team, and I am indebted to the brand for their continued backing and loyalty.
Which polo destination is the most memorable?
This is hard because I have played in so many incredible places, but my favorite polo destination is Argentina. I have been going for nearly twenty years to play during their season and watch the Argentine Open – the best polo spectacle in the world. I have many Argentine friends and love my time there.
However, the most memorable moment of my polo career was, without question, playing in the FIP 8 Goal European Championships in Austria in 2010. The Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) decided to send an all-female team to represent England to compete against ten all-male teams. We played against five teams, lost only one game and won a bronze medal for coming third. It was the highlight of my polo career, and I felt extremely honored to be representing my Country.
Clare at her happiest when she is with family.
Share a fond memory of your time at the Great Trippetts Polo Club.
Great Trippetts Polo Club is my home, and so over the years, I have many fond memories. The most recent would be having our children and their partners home during lockdown. It was such a special time to be together and explore the farm in a way we had never done before; to go off on horseback and have picnics; to create a mini golf course; to raise three baby lambs. To be able to enjoy this bizarre time as a family unit, was something I will never forget, and will treasure forever.
You are being duly recognized for your momentous work with opening James’ Place in Liverpool. Tell us about James’ Place and your vision for it.
James’ Place Charity was set up by myself and my ex-husband, Nick Wentworth-Stanley, in 2008 after our 21-year-old son, James, died by suicide ten days after a minor operation. James had no history of mental illness or depression and had sought urgent help for anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but didn’t find it.
We set up James' Place to make the experience of finding help as easy as possible. James’ Place offers men who are experiencing a suicidal crisis a brief, intensive, therapeutic intervention in a safe environment. Men, who walk through the door at James’ Place experiencing a suicidal crisis, will be in a space where they feel valued and respected.
The first James’ Place center was opened by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge in June 2018, in Liverpool, the first of its kind in the UK. To date, the Center has supported more than 400 men experiencing suicidal crises, delivering therapy sessions using an innovative and safe therapeutic intervention. A new James’ Place, located in the City of London, has plans to open in 2021.
James' Place opened by H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge.
What do you want James’ Place to accomplish in the next year?
I want James’ Place to finally open our second center in London. We have been delayed because of Covid-19. However, I am optimistic that we will have our next center in the City of London operational by Autumn 2021.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned in life?
I have learned that even the most challenging and difficult experiences in our lives have meaning; that suffering is inevitable and that while we cannot always choose what happens to us in life, we can always choose how we respond to what happens to us.
Movie The Notebook
Actress Nicole Kidman
Book Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Art Piece Steve McCurry's image of Afghan Girl
Song Gabriel's Oboe by Ennio Morricone
Scent Escale à Portofino by Dior
City Buenos Aires
Cocktail Botanist Gin & Fever Tree Light Tonic
Style Icon Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge
Images courtesy of Clare Milford Haven