The Duke of Cambridge today returned to St George’s Park, Burton-upon-Trent, to wish the England women’s football team good luck ahead of the women’s World Cup in Canada.
William, who is president of the FA, visited the team on Wednesday, and was greeted by Manager Mark Sampson and captain Steph Houghton. He then took him on a tour of the facility, seeing the technology used by the squad, who have just undergone an intensive 10-day training boot camp.
The father-of-two signed the centre’s autograph wall, which includes names such as Wayne Rooney. William was then able to watch the team train, ahead of their first match on 9th June against France. The women will also face fixtures against Mexico and Colombia.
‘It’s a big moment for us. It speaks volumes about where the women’s game is – the support we are getting,’ said manager, Mark Sampson, referring to the Duke’s visit.
The Duke replied: ‘The World Cup is a great platform to raise yourselves to the next level. It will all be televised, so we can see how you’re doing back home.’
Midfielder for the England women’s team, Fara Williams, spoke with Prince William about the Homeless FA, which is run by Centrepoint, a charity of which William is patron. She introduced the Royal guest to the Homeless FA’s head, Gareth Parker, and was invited to join in a kick-about, but declined due to wearing a less-than-athletic suit.
The Duke, a proud Aston Villa supporter, had a photo with the ladies in their dressing room, and they were all curious about William and Catherine’s newest arrival, Princess Charlotte.
“All the girls were asking how Princess Charlotte is and Prince George and whether they keep him up all night,” said Steph Houghton, team captain.
“He was saying he’s obviously really enjoying being a father and Princess Charlotte is actually keeping him up and probably why his eyes are looking a little bit tired.’
Jill Scott, a member of the team, also said: ‘He said he’d had a few sleepless nights. The baby will be up and George is running around now isn’t he? It reflects that he does a normal life away from his duty as Prince.’
William was given a miniature football shirt for his daughter, with her name on the back.
Photo: © Chloe Howard 2014