No footie for Charles! King and Queen attend church during England’s World Cup final – but send a message to defeated Lionesses praising their ‘skill, determination and team spirit’
- The King and Queen attended church near Balmoral during the World Cup final
- READ MORE: Agony for the Lionesses as they lose to Spain 1-0 in thrilling final with millions of expectant fans in pubs and bars across the country stunned into silence
The King and Queen attended church near Balmoral as the Lionesses were battling Spain in their thrilling World Cup final today – but while the royals didn’t appear to tune into the whole game, Charles, 74, sent the athletes a heartwarming message of commiseration.
He and Camilla, 75, were pictured arriving at Crathie Kirk as England’s national team were battling Spain.
Later, the monarch praised their ‘skill, determination and team spirit’, urging the athletes that their ‘place in the history books is assured’.
The King and Queen looked to be enjoying a Sunday service while the England squad were being put through their paces in the tense clash in Sydney, in which Spain won 1-0.
A Palace source had said on Saturday: ‘Both Their Majesties will be following Sunday’s events with the greatest interest.’
The couple may have been able to make it back to Birkhall, where they are believed to be staying, for the final few moments of the game.
The King and Queen attended church near Balmoral as the Lionesses were battling Spain in their thrilling World Cup final today
‘This brings you, your manager and all your support team my heartfelt thoughts and commiserations on the result of the World Cup final,’ the monarch said in a post on the Royal Family website website.
‘While I know how sore it must be, let none of you feel defeated, for to have reached the final at all is an immense tribute to your skill, determination and team spirit in the finest sporting tradition. More than that, though, it will serve as an inspiration for generations to come – and, for that, your place in the history books is assured.
‘With great admiration, congratulations to the Spanish team and with particular gratitude to the people of Australia and New Zealand for hosting such a wonderful tournament.
Charles, who is head of the Church of England, was driving the couple’s car on Sunday, while Camilla was seen smiling in the front passenger seat.
His son the Prince of Wales, who is president of the FA, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have faced a continued backlash over their decision not to attend the Women’s World Cup final in Australia.
Before the match, the King, 74, had urged the Lionesses to ‘roar to victory’ in a message of support.
Charles and Camilla were pictured arriving at Crathie Kirk for a Sunday service while the England squad were being put through their paces in the tense clash in Sydney, in which Spain won 1-0
While the royals didn’t appear to tune into the whole game, Charles, 74, sent the athletes a heartwarming message of commiseration
Charles, who is head of the Church of England, was driving the couple’s car on Sunday, while Camilla was seen smiling in the front passenger seat
In a dramatic rallying cry ahead of the clash, King Charles declared: ‘Good luck today Lionesses, and may you roar to victory!’ His stirring message on social media was signed Charles R.
His motivational message is a break with centuries of tradition.
When Queen Elizabeth wished the England men’s team good luck for the final of the Euro championships in 2021, she sent an official letter addressed to the team’s manager Gareth Southgate.
Charles III’s good-luck message to the women’s team was posted online at 9.30pm to coincide with dawn in Australia and appeared alongside a majestic picture of a lioness and the Royal crest. A Buckingham Palace source said: ‘Both Their Majesties will be following events with the greatest interest.’
Following the Lionesses defeat, the monarch’s son Prince William took to his social media account to share his commiserations to the squad.
He wrote: ‘Although it’s the result none of us wanted, @Lionesses you have done yourselves and this nation proud.
King Charles last night urged the Lionesses to ‘roar to victory’ as the England women’s football team stood on the brink of history
King Charles said ‘Good luck today Lionesses, and may you roar to victory!’ in a social media post
‘Your spirit and drive have inspired so many people and paved the way for generations to come. Thank you for the footballing memories. Congratulations to Spain,’ he added, signing off with ‘W’.
Football Association president Prince William apologised for not travelling to Australia ahead of the game today, while Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter Infanta Sofia were in Sydney to cheer on their team.
Appearing in a video alongside his eight-year-old daughter Charlotte, Prince William said he was sorry he could not watch today’s match ‘in person’, but wanted to send ‘huge good luck’ to the Lionesses.
Clutching an apparently well-used football in her lap, an excited Princess Charlotte added: ‘Good luck, Lionesses!’
In an impassioned letter to ‘Sarina and all our Lionesses’ overnight, Prime Minster Rishi Sunak heaped praise on the team for securing ‘a lasting legacy’ for women’s sport – and said he recognised the huge challenges some of them faced on their way to the top.
‘For many of you, the honour of putting on that England shirt was earned against the odds,’ Mr Sunak wrote.
‘It should never have been like that. At times, some of you were even stopped from playing. But you faced down outdated attitudes and fashioned your own opportunities to play.’
Mr Sunak, who is understood to have watched the match in a pub in his North Yorkshire constituency, said the Lionesses had made his daughters Krishna, 12, and Anoushka, ten, connect with the game.
‘For my daughters, and for every girl in this country, you have made football something for them; you have made them feel they belong on the pitch. So – in a way – you’ve already brought football home.’
No senior member of the British royal family attended the match. But Queen Letizia of Spain, dressed in a patriotic red trouser suit, was there with her 16-year-old daughter Infanta Sofia in order to show her country’s commitment to national football.
Queen Letizia and her daughter were front and centre of the celebrations in the stadium afterwards, taking to the podium to shake hands with the England players and hug the Spanish side as they collected their medals.
It is the first time the Lionesses have reached the final of a World Cup, and the first time an England football team has competed in a World Cup final since the men’s side beat West Germany in 1966.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, who was in Sydney, defended both the prince and the PM, calling William a ‘tremendous supporter of the sport’ who was disappointed not to be there.
She said Mr Sunak felt ‘very passionately about the women’s game’ and would be ‘watching and cheering’ them on.
Former England goalkeeper Pauline Cope branded it a ‘shame’ that William had not travelled to Australia, saying: ‘This should have been pencilled in his diary from day dot, after we won the Euros and qualified for the World Cup.’
Veteran broadcaster Jon Sopel suggested it was ‘inconceivable’ that William and the PM would not travel if it was the men’s team playing.
Sopel tweeted: ‘Happy to accept might be impossible for the PM, given other commitments. But Prince William? Why?’
Meanwhile presenter Dan Walker tweeted his support for William.
‘We all know he’d get hammered for the cost & climate impact of flying all the way to Australia for one football match,’ Walker wrote.
The King had urged the Lionesses to ‘roar to victory’ in a message ahead of the game, and William apologised to the Lionesses for not being there in a video message with Charlotte on Saturday.
It is understood William made the decision not to go because a trip to Australia would involve flying across the world for a very short period of time.
But in December, his office was looking at possible plans for him to attend the men’s World Cup staged by controversial hosts Qatar if England had made the final, despite initially having no plans to be there due to a busy schedule.
Charles is King of Australia and is yet to travel there since his accession.
Questions have been raised about the diplomatic implications of William visiting the country before his father has had chance as the new monarch, and also whether Australia would have been responsible for footing the bill for William’s security costs during his stay. The late Queen attended the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley and presented captain Bobby Moore with the trophy.
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