Prince William and Rishi Sunak blasted for failure to attend Women’s World Cup final

Senior British royals Prince William and King Charles, along with the UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, have come under fire for failing to attend the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Australia.

It’s the first time that England has made it to a World Cup final since 1966, and questions are being asked about why none of the royals or Britain’s prime minister have decided to attend, and whether it would be a different story if the men’s team were playing.

Beloved former Countdown presenter Carol Vorderman was among those blasting Prince William, who serves as the president of the Football Association (FA), for deciding not to watch the Lionesses make history as they face off against Spain on Sunday (20 August).

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

Vorderman pointed out that Queen Letizia of Spain has managed to make the trip with her 16-year-old daughter.

Facing Spain’s La Roja at Stadium Australia in Sydney, this is the first World Cup final for England’s Lionesses, who made it through after defeating Australia’s Matildas 3-1 in a thrilling semi-final.

Prince William’s failure to attend has been widely condemned on social media, despite claims from a palace source that the Prince of Wales is concerned about his carbon footprint. The source also suggested that William is not attending because a short visit would not be “diplomatically astute”, the Daily Mail reported.

It is unclear why King Charles decided not to attend. 

‘A dereliction of duty’

Broadcasters Gabby Logan, India Willoughby and Piers Morgan were among those criticising the prime minister and royal family for their failure to attend, with Logan describing herself as “disappointed” with Prince William’s decision.

Former tech and culture minister Ed Vaizey posted that it would be “unthinkable” for Sunak and William to “miss a men’s final”, while Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, wrote: “Women have fought for decades to get even an iota of recognition in football. For Prince William to shirk the World Cup Final is the wrong move, deeply disappointing and calls in to question how sincere he is when he proclaims his support for women’s sport.”

One social media user called William’s absence “a dereliction of duty”, and another blasted the Prince and prime minister’s decision not to attend as “shameful” and “plain sexism”, writing that “if the men were in the World Cup final, everyone, and their dog, would be there”.

The President of the Football Association’s failure to go and cheer the lionesses at the World Cup — shows it’s time for Prince William to step down and give the role to a woman who does care about our #lionesses.

— Dr Charlotte Proudman (@DrProudman) August 20, 2023

It really is absolutely wild that Prince William – the whole President of the English Football Association – is skipping a World Cup final where England is competing. Just unreal.

— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) August 20, 2023

They should if you agree to be President of the Football Association and England reach a World Cup Final. If it was the men’s team, he’d be there faster than I sprint to McDonald’s when the craving gets too much.

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 19, 2023

PM and Prince William should go to World Cup Final (if there’s still time). It would be unthinkable for them to miss a men’s final.

— Ed Vaizey (@edvaizey) August 18, 2023

Women have fought for decades to get even an iota of recognition in football. For PrinceWilliam to shirk the World Cup Final is the wrong move, deeply disappointing and calls in to question how sincere he is when he proclaims his support for women’s sport.

— Mandu Reid (@ManduReid) August 18, 2023

No excuse for Prince William – President of the Football Association- not to be at tomorrow’s World Cup Final for the England team. It’s basically his job. And no amount of “good luck” messages to the Lionesses make up for it.

— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) August 19, 2023

If the England men’s team were playing in a World Cup Final, Prince William (FA President) would be there. Rishi Sunak would be there. They would make flying over to Australia look as easy as popping to the corner shop for a pint of milk.

— Simon Harris – Man Behaving Dadly (THAT’S DADLY) (@simonharris_mbd) August 17, 2023

Using Princess Charlotte, as PR shield to deflect from backlash of deplorable decision not to support #Lionesses in person as FA President, is stereotypically sexist & patriarchal. Brings out cute young daughter instead

Prince William seriously lacks good sense #WorldCupFinal

— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) August 19, 2023

I cannot believe the Prime Minister and Prince William are not showing up to see our courageous national women’s team play their first World Cup final.

What a bloody national disgrace. You can bet anything that they wouldn’t have missed it was the men’s national team. Wasters.

— David Challen (@David_Challen) August 19, 2023

Satirical political candidate Count Binface even shared a photo from the final, mocking the Prince of Wales and Sunak for not attending.

Prince William fails you.
Rishi Sunak fails you.
Count Binface steps in.
Come on England!#Lionesses #wwcfinal

— Count Binface (@CountBinface) August 20, 2023

‘I’m sorry we can’t be there in person’

Prince William and Rishi Sunak both recorded video messages apologising for not making it to the 2023 World Cup final, and wishing the team good luck. 

The Prince of Wales shared a video with his daughter Princess Charlotte saying: “Lionesses, I want to send you a huge good luck for tomorrow, I am sorry we can’t 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. So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.”

The King opted out of a video message, instead giving a statement posted on the Royal Family’s official X account media, which read: “Good luck today Lionesses, and may you roar to victory.”

Sunak posted a message to the team, saying he would be “watching and cheering them on”. Addressing the letter to “Sarina and all our Lionesses”, the prime minister wrote: “On behalf of the entire country, I want to wish you the best of luck against Spain in the World Cup final!

“Once again, this summer, you’ve made us all proud. From beating the Aussies in their own backyard to winning that penalty shoot-out, you have inspired us with your skill, teamwork and courage.

“This weekend, like millions of others, I will be watching and cheering you on. But whatever the result, I want you to know that you have already secured a lasting legacy: that every girl in this country will have equal access to all school sport, including football.”

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