Duke of Cambridge hails pioneering English women ahead of Euros

The Duke of Cambridge has called England’s women ‘trailblazers’ as he wished them luck for this summer’s home Euros during a visit to St George’s Park.

After attending a Lionesses training session at the Burton-upon-Trent base on Wednesday afternoon, Prince William watched a few drills – and briefly took part in shooting drills – before talking to the players in a group .

And he said, “It’s a big tournament coming up for you, it’s exciting and everyone is looking forward to it. You are all pioneers of women’s sport and women’s football.

Prince William talks to the team after their training session (Paul Ellis/PA)

” The best luck. You’re going to have big crowds, good TV (coverage) – it’s going to be an awesome summer, it really is.

“I will keep an eye on what you are doing and watch the games with the kids, and try to come where I can to lend my support.

“We are all so proud of you, and you should be really proud of where you are. The pinnacle is approaching, the next few weeks for you, and I know you will make us all proud.

During the address, skipper Leah Williamson presented the Duke with three English shirts bearing the names of each of his children, George, Charlotte and Louis.

The Duke received English shirts bearing the names of each of his children (Paul Ellis/PA).
The Duke received English shirts bearing the names of each of his children (Paul Ellis/PA).

And in thanking the players, he said: “Charlotte wanted me to tell you that she is really good in goal! She said please tell them that. Budding star for the future!

Williamson, who also spent time talking one-on-one with the Duke, said afterwards: “It (the visit) means a lot to us.

“We are all very proud to represent England, and therefore to represent the Prince and his family. It is very important to us that everyone is proud.

“(He) just (has) a genuine interest in us and our well-being, and how we handle everything.

William takes part in shooting exercises (Paul Ellis/PA).
William takes part in shooting exercises (Paul Ellis/PA).

“How someone so important can put you at ease and genuinely care about who you are, that says a lot about him, I think.”

William also spent time chatting with England boss Sarina Wiegman and her team, as well as The Football Association’s director of women’s football Sue Campbell and chief executive Mark Bullingham.

The Duke, who is chairman of the FA, was then introduced to some of the other facilities used by the players and spoke to recreation officers based in Euro 2022 host cities about the legacy plans.

Campbell said the visit was “a great boost before we head into the tournament”.

England boss Sarina Wiegman (centre) in conversation with the Duke (Paul Ellis/PA).
England boss Sarina Wiegman (centre) in conversation with the Duke (Paul Ellis/PA).

She said: “It’s great for the players, great for us. He was very committed and really wanted to know more about women’s football.

“I think he’s really aware of the growth and development of women’s football, and it’s great for all of us to have him here.”

The visit took place on the squad’s last day as a provisional group of 28 players, before the final 23 were announced for the Euros later in the afternoon.

After the announcement on the 23rd, Wiegman told a press conference about the Duke’s visit: “It was fun.

“He was really interested. He knew a lot about us, he has already visited the team. It was just very nice to have him and to share some things, what we do, why we do it, the preparations for the Euros but we also talked a bit about the World Cup.

When asked what she thought of his football skills, Wiegman replied with a smile, “He was wearing the wrong shoes!”

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