Prince William has said “sorry we can’t be there in person” as he wished the Lionesses good luck ahead of the Women’s World Cup final tomorrow.
The heir to the throne, who is the president of the Football Association (FA), issued the video message as he faces criticism for not flying out to Sydney for England’s historic match against Spain.
Sky News understands William decided it was a long way to travel for a short period of time.
He was joined in the video by his daughter Princess Charlotte, who says: “Good luck Lionesses!”
William said in the clip: “Lionesses I want to send you a huge good luck for tomorrow.
“We’re sorry we can’t be there in person, but we are so proud of everything you have achieved and the millions you have inspired here and around the world.
“So go out there tomorrow and really enjoy yourselves.”
Kensington Palace has told Sky News it will not be commenting on Prince William’s decision not to attend the final, which would have marked his first visit to Australia, a Commonwealth realm, since 2014.
It’s understood the family will be watching the match from Norfolk.
Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, is among those who has criticised the Prince of Wales for choosing not to fly out for the match.
She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Friday: “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.”
Image: Prince William at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy’s men’s teams. Pic: AP Queen Letizia of Spain is set to travel to Australia for the final but no British royal will be present.
However, it is thought that King Charles and the Queen will be among the millions of people cheering on the Lionesses from afar.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also not expected to attend.
The UK government will be represented by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer to Australia to represent the UK government.
Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, has tweeted ahead of the match: “Seeing how the @Lionesses inspired my daughter last year was an incredibly special moment for me.
“Whatever the result tomorrow, this England team has already left its mark.”
Sky News has contacted the FA for comment in relation to Prince William’s decision not to attend.
He visited St George’s Park, the squad’s home training base, before they left for the tournament.
Image: The England team gathers during the tie against Nigeria. Pic: AP England players hope to end trophy drought
Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman has said England’s players are hoping to play their “best game ever” in the World Cup final on Sunday – with the team feeling buoyed by the “incredible” support they have received.
The England boss was speaking at a news conference alongside captain Millie Bright, who said the fact the players have a good relationship with their manager off the pitch helps with their performance in matches.
The England women’s team have the opportunity to lift the game’s most coveted prize for the first time.
It will also end a near-60-year wait for England to experience World Cup glory – with the men’s team not having won since 1966.