Prince William has been criticised for not being present to support the Lionesses’ in their Women’s World Cup final against Spain, with some England fans saying he would not have missed the final had the men’s team qualified.
Fans in England have criticised Prince Williams after he posted a video message saying he’s “sorry” for not travelling to Australia to support the Lionesses as they take on Spain in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final.
William, who is the president of England’s Football Association (FA), sent his “good luck” and apologised to the women’s team in video message late on Saturday, but fans said the royal family’s heir’s attitude showed the monarchy’s “actual attitude” towards women in sport.
“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’ve achieved, and the millions you’ve inspired here and around the world,” William said in a video that shows him sitting next to his daughter Charlotte.
“So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.”
Princess Charlotte, who has a football balanced on her lap, added: “Good luck Lionesses.”
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) August 19, 2023
The England women’s team, led by Millie Bright and coached by Dutchwoman Sarina Weigman, are the reigning European champions and are looking to become the first English team to lift the World Cup trophy since the men’s team in 1966.
William’s snub was met with sharp criticism on social media by football fans, opposition leaders and media celebrities.
Some media reports in the United Kingdom said William was “concerned about his carbon footprint” over the 19-hour flight from London to Sydney.
The trip could also reportedly lead to diplomatic complications as King Charles, Australia’s monarch, has not made state visit Down Under and William’s trip could lead to political and security problems.
Charlotte Nichols, a member of parliament from the opposition Labour Party, said the reasons still seemed “pretty poor”.
Given Prince William is President of the FA, the reasons communicated for non-attendance here seem pretty poor. https://t.co/LtTLZaOj11
— Charlotte Nichols (@charlotte2153) August 20, 2023
Fans said the absence of Williams and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak from the final at Stadium Australia on Sunday would show that they “can’t be bothered to support the Lionesses in person” and it depicted their “attitude to women in sport.”
When the President of the FA (Prince William), and the PM of one of the teams in the final (Rishi Sunak), can’t be bothered to support the @Lionesses in person
That shows their actual attitude to women in sport
And I bet if it was the men’s team in the finals, they’d be there
— Farrukh (@implausibleblog) August 20, 2023
Interesting. Prince William certainly made time to watch England play a men’s rugby World Cup final at the same stadium in Sydney 20 years ago. https://t.co/97N2roRefa
— Alex Thomas (@alexthomasMedia) August 20, 2023
Spain’s Queen Letizia has travelled to Australia for the final with her 16-year-old daughter Sofia in order to show the country’s “commitment” to national football, the the Royal Spanish Football Federation said in a statement earlier this week.
The Spanish Queen’s visit has added to fans’ criticism of Williams.
Prince William, President of the FA, isn’t travelling to support the Lionesses in the World Cup Final.
Queen Letizia of Spain is going with her 16 yr old daughter.
British Royal Family is the MOST EXPENSIVE in Europe ⏬️ (2021)
Spain the cheapest.
— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) August 20, 2023
YouGov, a British internet-based market research firm, said its polls showed 52 percent of Britons expected the monarch to support the Lionesses in person.
Prince William has come under fire for not attending the women’s world cup final on Sunday to watch England play, despite being president of the English FA
52% of Britons say he should be expected to go, with 25% disagreeinghttps://t.co/k0dWdnrcYc pic.twitter.com/l1MRz1pcPs
— YouGov (@YouGov) August 18, 2023
You can follow Al Jazeera’s live coverage of the final here.