Prince William and Kate: This is why they faced backlash over the Women’s World Cup final

Prince William and Kate publicly supported and congratulated the Lionesses during the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, but it was limited to Instagram as they chose not to go to Australia to watch the final.

'Absolutely disgusting': Prince William and Kate facing backlash over controversial decision
© Max Mumby/Indigo / GETTY IMAGES
'Absolutely disgusting': Prince William and Kate facing backlash over controversial decision

In August 2023, Prince William and Princess Kate were in the middle of a new backlash. Indeed, it appeared that the couple had chosen not to alter their summer plans in order to attend the Women’s World Cup final.

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This was a significant choice coming from the Waleses as they had publicly supported the team on social media and considering the fact that Prince William is the President of England’s Football Association. The decision was not well received and the couple received major pushback from the public as well as the press.

At the time, the question on everyone's lips was: will the couple make a last minute change and attend the final on Sunday 20 August?

Spoiler alert: they didn't.

Prince William and Kate let another royal take the spotlight

The Waleses were enjoying their summer break like the rest of the working members of the Royal Family. The King was in Scotland and the family was expected to be visiting him during the month of August.

While we understand that the royal schedule is highly organised it still appeared that another royal had more freedom with her time. Indeed, Queen Letizia of Spain announced that she would attend the final in order to support the Spanish team. Not only that, it was reported that Queen Letizia would be taking one of her daughters with her to Sydney.

At the final, the Spanish team had the support of both their Queen and the heir to the throne: Infanta Leonor, Princess of Asturias.

Seeing how one royal could quickly turn their schedule around and still include their children, the fact that Prince William and his wife weren't willing to do so raised eyebrows.

Prince William was pressured to go to Australia

The pressure around Prince William’s silence about a possible trip to Australia for the final of the World Cup was mounting. Indeed, several commentators including royal experts, pointed out the fact that the Prince is President of the Football Association. This trip could therefore fall under the category of official royal engagement.

More than that, people were asking one important question: would Prince William skip the Men’s World Cup final? The question was fair considering the fact that the Lionesses have outperformed the men’s team not just at the World Cup but also in 2022 during the European Championship.

At that time, Prince William attended the final and he and Princess Charlotte recorded a message to encourage the team.

The decision not to fit the visit into his schedule left many disappointed with Prince William as this was the first final with an English team since 1966.

Prince William let off the hook

In the end, no member of the British Royal Family made the trip to Australia to watch the Women's World Cup Final and, unfortunately for the Lionesses, they lost to Spain. On 24 August 2023, Newsweek's royal expert Jack Royston put forward the idea that the Lionesses' devastating loss was actually a good thing for Prince William who was being criticised for not making the trip.

On The Royal Report podcast Royston explained:

In a way, and it's sad to say it, but he's kind of been let off the hook by the fact that England lost, (...)
You know, if England had won and he'd been stuck in Britain trying to jump on the bandwagon by posting on social media from Kensington Palace [in London] or from up in Windsor, [Berkshire,] he would have looked ridiculous. He'd have been ridiculed.

On the other hand, the royal expert also explains that going to the final would have served two purposes. The first and obvious one is that it 'would have swerved these allegations that he cares more about the men's game' and the second is that the final would have been the perfect moment 'to bask in the reflected glory of a successful English soccer team'.

Finally, as if the stars were aligned in Prince William's favour, attention was shifted from him when, as the Spanish women were collecting their medals, Luis Rubiales forcefully kissed Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso.

The image travelled around the world and tarnished the Spanish team's historic win. The controversy around this incident led to Rubiales being removed as Spain's FA Chief. Rubiales has also been banned from all football-related activities for the next three years.

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The Mirror: Kate and William under pressure as Queen of Spain decides she WILL go to World Cup final

Newsweek: Why Prince William Controversy Was Missed Opportunity

ESPN: Ex-Spain FA chief Luis Rubiales handed 3-year ban by FIFA

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