Prince William, the future king of the United Kingdom, is in the middle of a quandary that’s probably familiar to most people: wedding vs. sports. His younger brother, Prince Harry, is marrying actress Meghan Markle on Saturday, and he’s the best man. But England’s Football Association Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea is on Saturday as well, and William is expected to attend in an official capacity.
While this seems like a no-brainer — family over soccer, and you spend the day stealing glances at your phone during the ceremony and reception — it’s not quite that easy for William.
Why does Prince William need to attend the FA Cup final?
This is more about duty than about William wanting to watch some soccer on a Saturday afternoon. William has been the FA president since 2006, and he takes his responsibilities seriously. Every year, the FA president is expected to attend the final game at Wembley Stadium and present the trophy to the winner. The FA Cup final is a hugely important sporting event in England, and the president’s duties are a longstanding tradition.
This conflict isn’t news to William, of course. He’s been thinking about it for months. Via USA Today, here’s an exchange between him and and a broadcaster from the beginning of 2018:
“It’s a big decision, are we going to Wembley, or are we going to …?” William was asked by former England national team soccer player turned broadcaster Rio Ferdinand during an interview in January.
“You’ve touched on something there, Rio, yeah,” William responded. “I’m still working it out. I’ll see what I can do.”
He might be able to do both
Even though the two events are happening on the same day, they’re not happening at the same time. And that’s how Prince William might be able to attend both. The wedding starts at noon in England, while kickoff for the FA Cup final is at 5:30 p.m. He could attend the wedding and the lunchtime reception, traverse the 20 miles between St. George’s Chapel and Wembley in a helicopter, present the trophy to the winning team, and then return in time for the evening reception at Frogmore House.
No one knows what will happen yet
The wedding is just days away, but there’s been no official word from anyone — Prince William or FA officials — about Saturday. The FA hasn’t even publicly discussed a contingency plan. In fact, an “insider” revealed to The Daily Express in April that the FA expects William to be there no matter what. But according to USA Today, TV channel iTV reported that William won’t attend the FA Cup final and will spend the entire day at the wedding.
Will Prince William duck out of his brother’s wedding to attend a soccer match? Or will he anger English soccer fans with his absence? With four days until the nuptials, the answer will be revealed soon.
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