Prince William has apologised for not attending the World Cup final to cheer on the Lionesses – as palace sources claim he was concerned about his carbon footprint and the diplomatic ramifications of going to Australia.
William said: ‘Lionesses, I want to send you a huge good luck for tomorrow.
‘We’re sorry we can’t be there in person but we’re so proud of everything you have achieved and the millions you’ve inspired here and around the world. So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.’
A beaming Charlotte, dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, added: ‘Good luck Lionesses!’
Kensington Palace sources last night cited several reasons why the prince has decided to watch the game at home in Anmer Hall, Norfolk, instead. One is the carbon footprint, particularly because he will travel to the US next month to support his green campaign, Earthshot.
Prince William has apologised for not attending the Women’s World Cup final to cheer on the Lionesses in a video message with Charlotte
It was also considered not to be a diplomatically sound move – both on a family and political level. William’s father Charles has still not visited Australia as King, a country where he is also monarch, and it is thought a short visit from his son would not be diplomatically astute.
A source added: ‘It was a finely balanced decision. The Prince of Wales hasn’t visited since 2014 so he would wish his next trip to Australia to be a substantial visit. He met them [the Lionesses] in St George’s Park before they flew out and he has been supporting them throughout the tournament by sending private good luck messages to the manager and team.’
The royals have been largely criticised in recent days for not planning to travel to the final, with fans of the England squad wondering if the same decision would have been taken if it was the men’s team in the final.
England celebrates after Alessia Russo scores the team’s third goal in the World Cup semi-final
England Lionesses train on the pitch ahead of their final match on Sunday
England’s Lionesses booked their place in the World Cup final against Spain with a famous victory over Australia on Wednesday
The England team’s Spanish rivals, however, will enjoy support from their Queen, Letizia, and her 16-year-old daughter Sofia.
The pair will sit in the presidential box at the Accor Stadium, but won’t be joined by King Felipe, who is busy with other official duties.
On Saturday evening the royals were seen arriving in Australia, where they will ‘show, once again, the royal household’s support for national football’.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also not expected to attend tomorrow’s final against Spain which has fuelled further criticism – as the government frantically scrambled Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to Sydney to support Sarina Wiegman’s side.
Kensington Palace confirmed earlier this week that the Prince of Wales would not be making the trip Down Under. He will instead be roaring on the Lionesses – who are playing in their first ever World Cup final – from home.
But as critics rounded on the prince this week, Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, told MailOnline yesterday: ‘It’s utterly ridiculous that England wasn’t and still isn’t prepared to celebrate the women’s World Cup final.
The women’s World Cup final will take place tomorrow
However, the row was intensified when the Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed that Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, Infanta Sofia, will be in Sydney, ‘to show, once again, the royal household’s support for national football’
Queen Letizia of Spain and her daughter Infanta Sofia arrive in Sydney ahead of tomorrow’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Final with Spain vs England
The royal duo exit a jet in Sydney on Saturday ahead of the match on Sunday morning (GMT)
The Lionesses prepare for their match against Spain, where they will be led by captain Millie Bright (left)
Lioness Rachel Daly celebrates after the end of the team’s semi-final match this week
Ella Toone celebrates after scoring England’s opening goal in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday
Lauren James will be available to Sarina Wiegman after a two-match ban following a stamp in the last-16
‘The President of the Football Association, Prince William isn’t bothering to attend, licensing laws haven’t been relaxed, there won’t be a screen at Trafalgar Square, and there’s been no word of any kind of large celebration should they win.
‘This last minute scramble to show support for the Lionesses by our leaders isn’t just embarrassing, it reveals how little they think of women’s sport.
‘You can guarantee that there’s no way the men’s football team would be treated with such disregard and disrespect.’
Royal expert Phil Dampier added: ‘If #PrinceWilliam as President of the FA isn’t going to the Women’s World Cup final we should be told why not. It’s a long way and Australia hasn’t had a visit by him or #TheKing since Charles came to the throne. That’s the problem. If the final was in Europe he’d be there!’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be absent due to ‘existing Government business commitments’, but will be ‘cheering the Lionesses on from Yorkshire’, a source said.
But Labour MP Kate Osborne told Times Radio: ‘We all know that if this was the men’s final, Sunak, and the FA president, Prince William, would be in attendance no matter how long the flight to Australia is.’
Gerry Sutcliffe, who served as sports minister under Gordon Brown between 2007 and 2010, told the Telegraph: ‘I think the Prince of Wales should be there.
‘I know it’s a long way and I’m sure he has family commitments but this is a unique moment, it’s the World Cup final.’
The England squad inspect the stadium and pitch ahead of their big match on Sunday
Revealed: How Lionesses’ salaries compare to stars of the men’s team
Star defender Lucy Bronze trains at the Central Coast Stadium with her teammates
The England team huddle after winning the semi-final against Australia
The row comes as Lioness fans continue to point out the stark differences in the women’s and men’s game, and call for a boycott of Nike after the retailed still fails to stock England hero Mary Earps’ goalkeeper shirt.
MailOnline has also reported that even Lionesses’ star players’ salaries are dwarfed compared to the men’s, with Georgia Stanway reported to be paid £34,000 a year.
Meanwhile Harry Kane’s recent transfer to Bayern Munich is thought to have seen him receive a paycheck worth £21million per year.
The winners of the women’s World Cup will also take home a quarter of the prize money awarded to the winner’s of the men’s tournament.
After the UK knocked out co-hosts Australia from the World Cup in the semi-finals this week, William led the way in congratulations as he sent a message to the squad: ‘What a phenomenal performance from the @Lionesses – on to the final! Commiserations to @TheMatildas, you’ve played brilliantly and been fantastic co-hosts of this World Cup.’
Shortly after the King and Queen sent their own congratulations: ‘My wife and I join all our family in sending the mighty Lionesses our warmest congratulations on reaching the final of the World Cup, and in sharing our very best wishes for Sunday’s match.
‘While your victory may have cost the magnificent Matildas their chance for the greatest prize in the game, both teams have been an inspiration on and off the pitch – and, for that, both nations are united in pride, admiration and respect.’
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said previously bosses had always known William would not be attending, but that he had been a ‘brilliant supporter of the team throughout’.
Fans’ disappointment was net yet over, however – as No.10 refused to say it would consider a national Bank Holiday if England won the championship.
Although Downing Street stressed the government would find the ‘right way’ to mark the team becoming World Champions, it is understood a Bank Holiday is not currently under consideration.
England have not won the World Cup since the men’s team took the trophy home in 1966.
The Lionesses, who have made the semi-final in the last three World Cups, are in the final for the first time in their history, after superb goals from Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp and Alessia Russo secured a 3-1 win against the Matildas.
Wiegman has a full line-up to choose her 11-strong team from for Sunday, after striker Lauren James served a two-match ban for a stamp on the back of a Nigerian player in the last 16.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-12425031/William-apologises-not-attending-World-Cup-final-cheer-Lionesses-palace-sources-claim-Prince-Wales-concerned-carbon-footprint-diplomatic-ramifications-going-Australia-King-Charles.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 William apologises for not attending the World Cup final to cheer on the Lionesses – as palace sources claim the Prince of Wales was ‘concerned about his carbon footprint and the diplomatic ramifications of going to Australia before King Charles’