Guards Polo Club Chairman Brian Stein who was friends with the late Queen dies at the age of 80

Nightclub owner Brian Stein who became Guards Polo Club Chairman and was friends with the late Queen dies at the age of 80

Brian Stein, a close friend of the late Queen Elizabeth who became Guards Polo Club Chairman, has died at the age of 80.

The former nightclub owner, who owned London establishments Maxwell’s Restaurant and Bar, Café de Paris, PJ’s Bar and Grill and the Palm Court Brasserie, leaves behind his girlfriend Platina Tong and three children; Dan, Emily and Alice.

Following his death, the Hurlingham Polo Association released a statement paying tribute to Mr Stein and his input in running the HPA.

It read: ‘We are hugely grateful for his contribution to polo. We send our deepest condolences to Platina, and his children Dan, Emily, and Alice at this time.’

The Association also note a memorial will be held in his honour with details to be released later.

Brian Stein, who owned a hospitality empire in London which included Maxwell’s and Café de Paris and was chairman of the Guards Polo Club, has died at the age of 80 (pictured with his partner, Platina Tong)

Brian Stein was born in South Africa in 1943 and moved to Israel where he served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army before moving to London to start his hospitality empire. 

Mr Stein’s interest in polo developed later in life, when he took a lesson while in his forties and realised he rather enjoyed the sport.

In 1987, he became a member of the Guards Club and three decades later in 2018 he was elected its chairman – despite admitting he felt like an ‘outsider’ who didn’t have much in common with the ‘high-ranking nobility types’ with whom he brushed shoulders in the world of polo.

After he was elected chairman, he revealed his surprise at the decision, admitting he did not see himself as part of the ‘establishment’.

During his tenure, Mr Stein was known for hosting a PJ’s Polo party at his restaurant in Chelsea at the beginning of each polo season.

He also promised to bring the club, which was founded in 1955 with Prince Philip as its president and Queen Elizabeth as its patron, in step with the modern age – a decision which was unpopular with some traditionalist members.

Broderick Munro-Wilson, a member of the £22,000-per-year club, told the Sunday Times: ‘For me personally, Brian has always been very nice and I think he should be given his chance, but he’s outside the usual character mould. 

‘He flies a helicopter, rides a motorbike with a leather jacket and runs a chain of hamburger restaurants.’

Queen Elizabeth II and Brian Stein pictured together at the Royal Windsor Cup Final in June 2019

Queen Elizabeth II and Brian Stein pictured together at the Royal Windsor Cup Final in June 2019

During his time with the polo club, Mr Stein struck up a friendship with the late Queen Elizabeth and was often seen watching matches with her.

In 2020, Stein’s businesses took a hit when restaurant chain Maxwell’s, which was still under his control, and central London club Café de Paris, fell victim to the lack of business due to the Covid pandemic.

As administrators Live Recoveries were called in, they released a statement about the closures.

The Sunday Times reports tt read: ‘Despite hope that December would generate a much-needed upturn in trading income, it was apparent low customer numbers, uncertainty surrounding trading, and mounting creditors and rent arrears left the company with no alternative.’