The Prince and Princess of Wales are to travel to France to cheer on England and Wales in the men’s Rugby World Cup, just weeks after William faced a backlash after missing the Lionesses’ historic final.
Kate, who is patron of the Rugby Football Union, will attend a group stage match between England and Argentina at the Stade de Marseille on Saturday – the first weekend of the tournament.
William, patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, will watch Wales compete against Fiji in another opening round match at the Stade de Bordeaux on Sunday.
The brief overseas royal trip to support the two men’s sides in the first stage comes after William was criticised for deciding not to attend the women’s England team’s World Cup football final against Spain in Sydney last month.
Veteran broadcaster Jon Sopel had suggested it was “inconceivable” that William and the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would not have travelled if the men’s team had been playing, while former England goalkeeper Pauline Cope branded it a “shame” the prince was not there in person.
It was the first time the Lionesses had reached the final of a World Cup, and the first time an England football team had competed in a World Cup final since the men’s side beat West Germany in 1966.
The prince, who is president of the FA, sent personal messages to the Lionesses after their heartbreaking 1-0 defeat, but stayed at home to watch the match in Norfolk rather than travelling to Australia.
No senior member of the British royal family attended the game, but Queen Letizia of Spain – dressed in a patriotic red trouser suit, was there with her 16-year-old daughter Infanta Sofia.
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