AN WILSON: I have no doubt that if the men of England had reached the World Cup final, Prince William would be there
We now know that Spain’s Queen Letizia and her daughter Infanta Sofia will travel to Australia to watch their country’s side take on the Lionesses in the Women’s World Cup final.
Still, it looks like none of our own royals will be going, and neither will Rishi Sunak. In fact, the oldest member of government to attend will be Lucy Frazer. ” Who ? you might ask. She is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
So when the Spanish team look up to the stands on Sunday morning, they will see their queen. When our brave Lionesses strain their eyes to see a tall Briton, they will be forgiven for not recognizing anyone at all, and certainly not Lucy Frazer, however nice or interesting.
What a shameful – and sad – reflection of the administration’s attitude to such a joyous and important national occasion.
I can understand the king’s reluctance at his age to fly to Australia at short notice. But the young Prince of Wales, who is currently taking a summer break from royal duties, surely could have made the trip.
No member of the royal family, nor Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, will travel to Australia to support the Lionesses in the Women’s World Cup final. Pictured: Alessia Russo of England (C) celebrates with her teammates after scoring the 1-3 goal in the semi-final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Wednesday
Prince William is president of the Football Association and claims to be a true fan of The Beautiful Game. He is pictured in June with the England women’s team as he visits the National Football Center in St. George’s Park to wish them luck ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup
He is president of the Football Association and claims to be a true fan of the Beautiful Game. It’s not enough to send a personal message to the team congratulating them on their “phenomenal performance” after Wednesday’s game and wishing them the best against Spain.
He should be there in person, just as the late Queen was in the 1966 final, when she so memorably handed the World Cup to Bobby Moore after the game. Lionesses are not only brilliant footballers and amazing personalities.
They also helped bring about a revolution. In order to become the distinguished footballing professionals they are today, they had to break through something seemingly much more impenetrable than the “glass ceiling” that for so long prevented women from becoming judges, editors of newspapers or CEOs of banks.
They are true revolutionaries, having endured the teasing, bullying and condescension of their male counterparts in their childhood and beyond. They changed the game – they don’t whine like men, they don’t harass the referee or dive into the penalty area. And you won’t see their fans wallowing in gallons of lager and shouting abuse.
Pictured: Prince William presents an honorary CBE to England manager Sarina Wiegman as he visits the England women’s team to wish them luck ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Yet now that they have reached this stupendous peak, they are faced with the same old attitudes that threatened their careers even at the start. Because there is no doubt in my mind that if our men’s team had reached the World Cup final, Prince William and senior ministers would have come a distance to watch them.
It’s still not too late for the prince, his sports-loving wife and children to get on the plane and go to the game. The Lionesses are of course made of sterling fabrics, and they will perform like heroines whether Britain sends a good big man to watch them or not.
But what is important here is the message sent to the rest of us. Many of us fans, especially former men like me, have actually been changed watching the Lionesses’ stratospheric success since their progressive triumphs at the UEFA European Women’s Championship last year.
They are a beacon of feminism – they carry a flag not just for British football, but for British women of all classes and ages. That’s why it’s more than a little sad that no royals or high-ranking ministers can bother to get on a plane to cheer them on to victory on Sunday.