William to miss crucial England match tonight as prince supports King Charles in the absence of key royals – Football News

William to miss crucial England match tonight as prince supports King Charles in the absence of key royals

Prince William is set to miss England’s final group stage match at Euro 2024 in order to attend a state banquet with the Japanese Imperial Family.

The banquet will feature representatives from the British Royal Family and political figures including Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer – but not Princess Anne, who is recovering from head injuries from a run-in with a horse, or Princess Kate, who is continuing her cancer treatment.

William greeted Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako ahead of the pair’s official welcome ceremony at Horse Guards Parade and lunch at Buckingham Palace – where delegates will be dining alongside the King and Queen later this evening.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official said the visit would be an opportunity to foster “friendly relations across generations” of British and Japanese royals – and with a General Election looming, would not be an – overtly – political trip.

\u200bPrince William with Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako

Prince William greeted Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako today


And the Prince of Wales – despite his position as the President of England’s Football Association (FA) – is expected to be in attendance at the banquet later, meaning he will miss out on a place in the stands for England’s final Group C match against Slovenia.

The game’s outcome will not be as vital as fans may have feared just days ago; Spain’s 1-0 victory over Albania meant England are guaranteed a berth in the last 16.

Thanks to the Three Lions’ four points on the board from their first two games against Serbia and Denmark, even a loss against Slovenia tonight would see them pass through the group stage as one of the tournament’s four best-placed third-place teams.

William had not been attendance for England’s Euro 2024 curtain-raiser in Gelsenkirchen against Serbia – but flew to Frankfurt for their second match against Denmark, where he, Danish King Frederik X, and thousands of fans were subjected to a dour 1-1 draw against the Scandinavian side.


Prince William and Denmark's King Frederik X

Prince William was pictured alongside Denmark’s King Frederik X in Frankfurt last Thursday


Prince William at Aston Villa match

The Prince of Wales has form for following football when he can


England fans in Cologne

England fans have descended on Cologne for the final game of the group stage


England’s final group game does have something riding on it: their seeding for the knockout stage.

And though the Prince had told the team it wasn’t “the end of the world” after the Denmark match, with Crystal Palace midfielder Adam Wharton saying William was “just trying to keep us all positive”, his lack of presence in the stands may lighten the pressure on the under-fire Three Lions.

Though perhaps Prince William’s presence is a bad omen for a team under the cosh – he had been watching on at Villa Park at the start of May when his club of choice, Aston Villa, suffered a 4-2 home defeat in the Uefa Europa Conference League against eventual winners, Greek side Olympiacos.

Though even his absence has caused controversy in the past – the prince faced criticism last year for not attending the Women’s World Cup final in Australia when England’s women’s team lost to Spain.

Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane

Slovenia have never beaten England in six attempts


England fan looks on during England vs Denmark

Fan expectations will be high when the Three Lions get the ball rolling against Slovenia


A win against Slovenia would see England top the group, and avoid a last-16 matchup against hosts Germany – as well any games against a red-hot Spain or Ronaldo-led Portugal until the final, if Gareth Southgate’s team can secure back to back Euro final appearances.

If England draw, and Denmark win by two or more goals, they’ll be on that side of the bracket; while if they lose, and Denmark grab any kind of win, they could find themselves on either side of the bracket – but, of course, by kick-off, the outcome of the final match of Group D will have cleared that up.

The expectations of fans, both at home and those who have descended on Cologne to support their country in person, will be high when the Three Lions get the ball rolling against Slovenia – the plucky Adriatic side have never beaten England in six attempts, drawing just one.

England vs Slovenia kicks off at 8pm UK time tonight.

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