Prince William will need to step up to the plate following this past weekend’s football fiasco.
The heir to the throne was called out by both sports fans and royal watchers for not attending the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday when England’s Lionesses were playing. The 41-year-old, who is on vacation with his wife and three children, has been the president of England’s Football Association for nearly 20 years. He released a video on Saturday alongside his daughter Princess Charlotte wishing the Lionesses good luck in the championship.
Many watchers said William’s lack of attendance was a “snub” to his team.
“It was a massive mistake for William to not travel to the World Cup,” British royal expert Shannon Felton Spence told Fox News Digital. “It was William’s job to be there. As Prince of Wales and President of the Football Association, he had the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that women’s sports are as valuable as men’s sports.”
“It was further bungled by the social media video they posted that only featured Princess Charlotte,” she shared. “It’s hard to not imagine how differently it would have played out had it been England’s men in the World Cup. Truly a massive misstep by the Prince of Wales.”
Royal commentator Ian Pelham Turner pointed out to Fox News Digital that morning broadcasters in the U.K. labeled the prince “stubborn” and “lazy” for not attending.
“The feeling is a short video sent by William was not enough, although football officials have played down the significance of his attendance,” he said.
The Lionesses were trying to bring a World Cup back to England for the first time since the men won it in 1966. Victory was declared by Spain on Sunday.
Queen Letizia of Spain and her younger daughter Princess Sofia traveled to Sydney, Australia, to support their team. The women helped out to hand medals and hugged the players.
According to multiple reports, William’s climate change concerns impacted his decision to opt out of taking the lengthy flight. Kinsey Schofield, host of the “To Di For Daily” podcast, told Fox News Digital that the prince would have still faced criticism if he attended.
“Additionally, I believe the king’s advisers did not want him visiting Australia before his father did,” she explained, noting that King Charles III has not traveled there since ascending to the throne.
“It wouldn’t be a good reflection on the king for his heir to visit Australia first,” she said.
Now, all eyes will be on the Prince and Princes of Wales. The king, 74, is set to host a summit with the couple at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle to map out the monarchy’s future, The Mirror reported. At the “high-stakes” gathering, the monarch will set the family’s goals for 2024, “including travel and engagements.” A source claimed to the outlet that pressure will be placed specifically on the couple and their “star quality” as younger members of “The Firm.”
Discussions over last weekend’s mishap will be inevitable, royal experts suspect.
“Charles certainly won’t be crossed with William for not going to Australia,” royal expert Duncan Larcombe told Fox News Digital. “But I think it is a reminder of just how much press is on Prince William… [William] has to prioritize which causes he supports and which bits of foreign travel he does.”
“I think to call it an emergency summit is probably to over-egg it quite a lot,” he shared. “This is an opportunity for Charles to spend some quality time with William and to discuss the next… 12 months.”
Charles has long yearned for a slimmed-down monarchy, one that will prioritize the monarchy’s future and relevancy. Prince Andrew stepped back as a senior member in 2019, followed by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2020.
“Both William and Catherine’s workloads increased dramatically after Prince Harry and Meghan left,” Schofield pointed out. “And even more upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II [in September]. The Prince and Princess of Wales have amazing work ethics. But what keeps their home life strong is their shared priority of family.”
“I admire the king, but quite frankly… prioritizing his family is something he has never been accused of,” she shared. “I think it’s refreshing to see Prince William choose to stay home with his babies than run off to cheer on a sports team. There is something incredibly real about him choosing to sit at home and watch the game on his couch surrounded by his babies.”
The prince has been accused of being “work-shy” by critics for limiting his royal engagements. Harry wrote about the label in his memoir “Spare.” The Duke of Sussex pointed out that at the time, his brother was raising his firstborn Prince George, and expecting his daughter Charlotte.
“The papers were awash with stories about Willy being lazy, and the press had taken to calling him ‘Work Shy Wills,’ which was obscene, grossly unfair because he was busy having children and raising a family,” wrote the 38-year-old.
“He did as much as Pa wanted him to do, and sometimes that wasn’t much because Pa and Camilla didn’t want Willy and Kate getting loads of publicity. Pa and Camilla didn’t like Willy and Kate drawing attention away from them on their causes. They’d openly scolded Willy about it many times.”
Felton Spence said Charles will face challenges as fewer members of the royal family are on-site to “do the actual work in royal life.”
“[William and Catherine] have long been accused of being ‘work-shy,’ and frankly, it comes from a deep desire to provide a normal life for their family,” she explained. “It was easier to accomplish that work-life balance in years past when the kids were young.
“There were more working members of the family, and [William and Catherine] were less senior. But that’s no longer the case. And they are going to need to get with the program. They are very duty-driven, and they have a heart for service, but sometimes the country, and indeed the world, expect to see them at a time when it may be inconvenient for them. And that’s always been the essential conflict of that job — the crown comes first.”
“King Charles’ reign will be shorter than his mother’s, and William can expect to be king at a younger age than his father,” chimed British broadcaster and commentator Jonathan Sacerdoti. “It’s clear that he and the king will want to start laying the groundwork so that he is prepared when the time comes. Each monarch has an opportunity to do things their way, to a certain extent, and it makes sense that they would be coordinating now, keeping in mind the long-term survival of the monarchy.”
Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” told Fox News Digital that we can expect to see the Prince and Princess of Wales a lot more in the upcoming months. They will not only need to pay attention to what critics are saying, but also find ways to keep the monarchy relevant.
Andersen agreed that the summit is a “high-stakes” one, which means William will need to start packing his bags.
“Charles, Camilla, William and Kate have been handed a very light foreign travel schedule up to this point, but that’s going to have to change — and soon,” said Andersen.
“Not long after the coronation, there was talk of a sweeping two-year global tour to basically sell the monarchy around the world,” he shared. “Well, we have yet to see that happen. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the palace soon announces the details of a kind of international charm offensive — including a sweeping tour of the Commonwealth, much like the one Queen Elizabeth undertook.”
William was previously criticized for his “tone deaf” royal tour of the Caribbean. In June 2022, he reflected on his experience, noting that he and his wife “learnt so much.”
“Not just about the different issues that matter most to the people of the region, but also how the past weighs heavily on the present,” he added.
Fox News Digital’s Chantz Martin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.