Prince William continues to keep a low profile as the row deepens over his decision to snub the Lionesses World Cup final in favor of a family vacation.
Kensington Palace confirmed earlier this week that the Prince of Wales, who is chairman of the Football Association and therefore responsible for promoting the game nationally and internationally, will not be making the trip Down Under.
He will instead roar at the Lionesses – who are representing England in their first World Cup final since 1966 – from home.
Since sending a tweet congratulating the team on their semi-final triumph over Australia on Wednesday, the heir to the throne has not been seen in public, as pressure mounts over his absence of Sunday’s flagship event.
The cost of the trip and the carbon footprint were cited as reasons for the prince not to go.
Kensington Palace confirmed earlier this week that the Prince of Wales, who is chairman of the Football Association and therefore responsible for promoting the game nationally and internationally, would not be making the trip Down Under
However, the row escalated when the Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed that Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, Infanta Sofia, would be in Sydney, “to show, once again, the support of the royal family. to national football”.
England’s Lionesses booked their place in the World Cup final against Spain with a famous win over Australia on Wednesday
Palace sources have also said it could be seen as tactless for William to return for the first time in nearly a decade to publicly cheer on England in the final they knocked Australia out. of the tournament to get there.
But criticism continued to backfire on the prince today as the government frantically rushed Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to Sydney to support Sarina Wiegman’s side.
Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, told MailOnline today: “It’s utterly ridiculous that England weren’t and still aren’t ready to celebrate the Women’s World Cup final. ”
“The President of the Football Association, Prince William, is not bothering to attend, the licensing laws have not been relaxed, there will be no screens in Trafalgar Square, and there is no There’s been no word of any sort of big celebration if they win.
“This last minute scramble to show support for the Lionesses by our leaders is not only embarrassing, it reveals how little they think about women’s sport.
“You can guarantee there’s no way the men’s football team will be treated with such contempt and disrespect.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will also be absent, due to ‘existing government business commitments’, but ‘will be cheering on the Yorkshire Lionesses’, a source said.
Labor MP Kate Osborne told Times Radio: ‘We all know that if it was the men’s final Sunak and FA chairman Prince William would be there no matter how long the flight to Australia was. .”
Gerry Sutcliffe, who served as sports minister under Gordon Brown between 2007 and 2010, told the Telegraph: “I think the Prince of Wales should be there.”
“I know it’s a long road and I’m sure he has family commitments but it’s a unique moment, it’s the World Cup final.”
Neither William nor Mr Sunak attended any of England’s Men’s World Cup games in Qatar last winter.
However, the row escalated when the Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed that Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, Infanta Sofia, would be in Sydney, “to show, once again, the support of the royal house. to national football”.
The couple will be seated in the presidential box at the Accor stadium, but will not be joined by King Felipe, who is busy with other official duties.
Letizia visited the Spanish team in Madrid before heading to the tournament, watching them train and receiving a personalized shirt.
She ended the visit with “a motivational speech which deeply touched the players and coaching staff”, the federation said.
FA chief executive Mark Bullingham yesterday said bosses had always known William would not be present but that he had been a ‘brilliant supporter of the team throughout’.
The heir to the throne paid tribute to the Lionesses after their historic 3-1 semi-final win over Australia on Wednesday, describing it as a “phenomenal performance”.
He added: “Congratulations to @TheMatildas, you have played brilliantly and been fantastic co-hosts of this World Cup.”
Her father, King Charles III, also sent a personal message to Sarina Wiegman and her team after booking their place in the final.
The monarch said: “My wife and I join our entire family in sending the mighty Lionesses our warmest congratulations on reaching the World Cup final and in sharing our best wishes for Sunday’s game.
“Although your victory may have cost the magnificent Matildas their chance to win the game’s biggest prize, both teams were an inspiration on and off the pitch – and, for that, both nations are united in pride, admiration and respect.”