PRINCE William made a surprise return to Chester Racecourse as he saddled up to play polo.
Heavy rain showers failed to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm as they witnessed the future king don a number four light-grey jersey for the Audi Polo Challenge, cheered on by about 1,000 guests.
The Duke of Cambridge arrived by car at about 3pm on Thursday to participate in the hour-long charity match, before greeting those in attendance.
Afterwards Prince William ensured the white horse he had ridden was in good health before leaving the venue by car via the Racecourse Flats just after 5pm.
This was not the first time Prince William had played polo at the Chester Racecourse, as it was almost exactly a year to the day he last played there, on June 1, 2011.
Like last year, the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, was not present.
The highlight of the day was a polo game between Audi Quattro, featuring the duke, and Audi Ultra.
William helped his team clinch victory in what was a close match.
With the scores level after four chukkas of play, the game continued into extra time, with Quattro being the first of the two sides to find the posts, making the score 8-7.
As a result Quattro was crowned the winner of the Audi Polo Challenge for 2012.
VIPs who attended the event included Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, John Bishop and John Craven.
Guests were treated to more entertainment off the field in the form of a three-course dinner prepared by two-Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines before a performance by pop star and forthcoming Chester Rocks headliner Pixie Lott.