PRINCE William is facing a huge backlash over his decision not to attend the Lionesses World Cup final match against Spain.
The Prince of Wales, 41, who is President of the FA, made the decision not to fly to Australia for the historic game to support England’s women’s team at the Stadium Australia.
The heir to the throne apologised in advance for not attending in person in a video message that was released on Saturday.
William was seen with his daughter Princess Charlotte who was sat next to her dad, holding a football in her lap.
He said: “Lionesses, we want to send you a huge good luck for tomorrow.
“We are sorry we cannot be there in person but we are so proud of everything you have achieved and the millions you’ve inspired here and around the world.
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“So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.”
The prince’s no-show sparked a large amount of speculation as to why William didn’t hop on a flight to support the team with many calling it a “shame”.
Some reports have indicated that King Charles, who is Australia’s head of state, has not yet visited the country, after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II.
That would mean William, who is currently on his summer holiday, cannot constitutionally visit before him.
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Other reports though say he made the decision not to travel due to environmental concerns.
The journey would mean flying to the other side of the world for just a short period of time.
Former England goalkeeper Pauline Cope called the decision a “shame”, adding: “I will not have any bad words against the royal family.
“However this should have been pencilled in his diary from day dot, after we won the Euros and qualified for the World Cup.”
She also said she was disappointed that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Gareth Southgate, the coach of the England men’s team, had not travelled to Sydney for the final.
Cope, who played in the 1995 World Cup and has 60 England caps, told Times Radio: “Let’s be honest, if it was the men’s World Cup, they would all be here.”
Sun columnist and TV presenter Piers Morgan also hit out at the royal, saying: “With respect, YRH (Your Royal Highness), you should have got on a plane.
“Ridiculous that the Queen of Spain is attending the World Cup Final to support her nation’s team, and you won’t be there despite being President of the FA.”
Veteran broadcaster Jon Sopel thought it was “inconceivable” that William and Sunak would not travel if it had been the men’s team playing.
He said in a message on X, formerly Twitter: “Happy to accept might be impossible for the PM, given other commitments. But Prince William? Why?”
However, FA chief Mark Bullingham said earlier this week: “We’ve always known he wouldn’t be able to attend, sadly, due to his diary.
“He has been a brilliant supporter of the team throughout. He came to see the team before we left and he’s been sending messages of support throughout.”
Despite a valiant effort from the England team, they lost 1-0 to Spain.
William took to social media to praise the England players.
He wrote: "Although it’s the result none of us wanted, @Lionesses you have done yourselves and this nation proud.
"Your spirit & drive have inspired so many people and paved the way for generations to come.
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"Thank you for the footballing memories.
"Congratulations to Spain. W."
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