Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023

That awkward moment when the Prince of Wales says he’s backing England.

Prince William, the heir to the British throne, offered his support to England even as it prepared to face Wales in the World Cup. He was forced into a quick bit of diplomatic maneuvering.

Prince William, left, met with midfielder Jack Grealish and the rest of the English national team before they left for Qatar earlier this month. (Eddie Keogh/The FA, via Associated Press)

By Sarah Lyall

It seemed so nice when Prince William, the heir to the British throne, met with England’s national team to express his support for their World Cup campaign before they left for Qatar. A video released by England’s Football Association (president: Prince William) showed him doling out shirts to the players and declaring that “we’re all rooting for you.”

Who the “we” is in that sentence became a matter of some controversy. As many residents of Wales speedily pointed out, Prince William is the Prince of Wales — and Wales was also competing in the tournament. In fact, the team is playing England today, the first time the two nations have ever met in a World Cup. (Wales hasn’t been to the World Cup since 1958.)

“Not a shred of embarrassment?” the Welsh actor Michael Sheen, whose nationalist fervor has resulted in some Shakespearean-style inspirational orations to the Welsh team, tweeted at Prince William. “Or sensitivity to the problem here?”

Prince William quickly did a bit of diplomatic maneuvering, saying that though he generally supports England in soccer and Wales in rugby, he was excited about both their prospects for the World Cup. He also said he planned to wear a Welsh bucket hat for the team’s match against Iran. (Wales lost, 2-0.) It is unclear what he intends to wear for the England-Wales game on Tuesday, but there is no doubt which team Sheen will be supporting.

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This article originally appeared in the New York Times.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 10:36 IST
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