Skip to main content

Prince William shows off his football skills on the queen's lawn

By Max Foster, CNN
October 7, 2013 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Prince William shows off his footballing skills during a training session on the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Prince William shows off his footballing skills during a training session on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
HIDE CAPTION
Footballing royal
Laughing matter
Serious stuff
Perfect host
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Prince William shows off his football skills
  • Takes part in training session on a specially laid pitch at Buckingham Palace
  • Pitch was used for a match between two historic English football teams
  • The Duke of Cambridge is President of English Football Association

(CNN) -- "I cannot tell you how excited I am that later today we will be playing football on my grandmother's lawn. One warning, though: if anyone breaks a window, you can answer to her."

The Duke of Cambridge was speaking just before the first official football match at Buckingham Palace.

Prince William, the heir to the British throne, is President of the English Football Association (FA), a role he says is an extension of a personal passion:

"The beautiful game has changed an awful lot during the queen's reign, but it remains the most loved game in the country, most probably the world," he said.

He describes football as "a chance to escape with friends and family and enjoy its virtues -- teamwork, competition, endeavor and, more occasionally on my part, skill."

On Monday he had a chance to show off those skills on the specially prepared pitch at the Palace.

Wearing boots given to him by Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney, he joined members of the queen's household team in a training session.

Read: By royal command: Football comes to Buckingham Palace

Prince William is a fan of English Premier League side Aston Villa but he chose two teams from lower leagues to play a full 90-minute match on the royal grounds to mark the 150th anniversary of the FA.

Civil Service FC is the only surviving member of the FA formed in 1863, and Polytechnic FC was formed slightly later in 1875.

But the day was really about rewarding the unsung heroes of the national game: "Grassroots football thrives on the support of its volunteers week after week," he said.

Many of those volunteers were invited to the palace to see the match.

There was nothing but praise for the royal groundsmen who spent weeks getting the garden match-fit.

Watch: Max Foster interviews Prince William

This is a space normally graced only by family members and the odd garden party. It has its own unique challenges for a city center garden.

The park-like space is a flourishing habitat for wildlife including a large gaggle of geese whose droppings litter the entire space at this time of year.

The groundsmen spent much of the morning cleaning up the football pitch with a vacuum cleaner.

They then swept away the carpet of leaves away with wooden brooms.

But the fact the Queen was away did provide one advantage: "There shouldn't be any corgis running on to the pitch," Prince William joked.

Now the historic match is over (Polytechnic won 2-1) the corgis and geese have their garden back.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT