The FIFA Women’s World Cup has generated an unprecedented level of coverage for both women’s sports and soccer as a whole in Australia.
While the hopes of a World Cup win for the Matildas were dashed by their loss to England and Sweden, many Australians are still very invested in the event, including Channel 10’s Angela Bishop.
Bishop, a mainstay entertainment reporter for Channel 10, slammed Prince William for not attending the World Cup final, which featured England against Spain.
The Prince of Wales is the president of the English Football Association and his decision to not travel to Australia for the event caused a fair share of controversy.
“I think it’s a disgrace,” said Bishop, while on-air with royal correspondent Gavin Grey. She then proceeded to further explain her criticisms.
“This was a moment not to make a video with his daughter but to get her on a plane with him, come out here and celebrate their team – their national team in the women’s World Cup.
“To not be flexible enough to do that, to say, ‘it’s not in the diary’, to say, ‘it’s interrupting their summer holidays’ – none of those excuses cut the mustard.
“He’s going to pay for this.”
Grey, while acknowledging that Prince William’s absence was disappointing for some, offered a possible explanation for the Prince’s decision.
“It would have been a long way to go for a relatively short length of time, that perhaps would have upset his environmental friends and damaged his environmental credentials – he is, after all, in charge of the Earthshot environmental prize,” Grey noted.
“Another thing is that within the Commonwealth, when there is a new King or Queen, they should visit the country before other members of the Royal Family. Charles has not been down to Australia yet … (William’s) visit would have perhaps upset that.”
Grey also noted that the royals tended to “take August off” for their annual holiday during the English summer.
“Dare I say it, he just wanted to be at home with his family.”
Instead of attending the event, Prince William appeared in a short video with his daughter offering words of support for the Lionesses and offering an apology for his absence.
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) August 19, 2023
Grey was also quick to defend Prince William against accusations that he would have prioritised a men’s World Cup final.
“It’s not because Prince William thinks that the Lionesses are in some way inferior, or is not taking them seriously,” Grey told the hosts on while on air.
“I think that happened is the people who look after his diary would have had the men’s World Cup final pencilled in for weeks, months in advance – maybe even a full year. I don’t think that happened for the women’s World Cup.
“I think they underestimated perhaps how popular it was going to be – they might have even underestimated the team and underestimated just the sheer groundswell of support that they got.
“Either way, people have been very quick to criticise Prince William – it will sting and hurt.”