The Prince of Wales may have cheered on the Lionesses from afar but has been criticized by some home circles for his reluctance to get on a plane to support the England team in person.
William was absent from Stadium Australia on Sunday when he was president of the Football Association, and is said to have made the decision not to go due to the long flight involved for such a short time.
Environmentalists may applaud such a move and would no doubt have questioned the prince’s green credentials had he taken a long-haul flight. He is the founder of the Earthshot Prize.
But others have strongly criticized the fact that no member of the royal family or Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was there for England’s first World Cup final since 1966, believing there should be high-level representation at such a national time.
Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter intended to be there to express their country’s commitment to domestic football, although King Felipe is believed to be busy with other duties.
Former England goalkeeper Pauline Cope expressed her disappointment at the absence of members of the royal family, the Prime Minister or even England men’s manager Gareth Southgate, saying it was ” a shame”.
“I will have no bad words against the royal family. However, it should have been penciled in his [William’s] newspaper, after winning the Euros and qualifying for the World Cup,” Cope, who has 60 England caps and played at the 1995 World Cup, told Times Radio.
“Let’s be honest, if it was the Men’s World Cup, they would all be there.
Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, said Mail online it was “utterly ridiculous that England weren’t and still aren’t ready to celebrate the Women’s World Cup final”.
Broadcaster Jon Sopel said it was “inconceivable” that William and Sunak would not travel if it was the men’s team playing. He tweeted“Happy to accept might be impossible for the prime minister, given other commitments. But Prince William? For what?”
Piers Morgan TV presenter tweeted“With respect, YRH (Your Royal Highness), you should have gotten on a plane. It is ridiculous that the Queen of Spain attends the World Cup final to support her country’s team, and that you are not there, even if you are president of the FA.
King Charles has urged the Lionesses to “roar to victory”, with him and the Queen expected to watch from Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, where they are on summer vacation.
William apologized to the Lionesses for not being there in a video message posted to social media on Saturday. Joined by his daughter, Princess Charlotte, who clutched a football, he said: “Lioness we 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 all you have accomplished and the millions you have inspired here and around the world.
“So go tomorrow and really have fun.”
In October, he had not planned to attend the controversial Men’s World Cup in Qatar due to a packed winter schedule. But before Southgate’s side were knocked out in the quarter-finals, it was understood William’s office were considering making arrangements for him to attend should the men reach the final. William is now on his annual summer break.
He watched the Lionesses win the European Championship last year, presenting them with their medals at Wembley, and visited them in person in June at the St George’s Park training base to wish them well before they departed for Australia.
Charles is King of Australia, but as he has yet to travel there since his accession, questions have been raised about the diplomatic implications of William’s visit to the country before his father had a chance as that new monarch. The question has also been raised whether Australia would have been responsible for footing William’s security bill during his stay.
The late Queen attended the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley and presented the trophy to England captain Bobby Moore.