London (CNN)When the England football team sing the national anthem ahead of their Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday, Prince William will join in along with the rest of the crowd at Wembley, just as he has for other key games.
Sunday's European football final will test Prince William
A version of this story appeared in the July 9 edition of CNN's Royal News, a weekly dispatch bringing you the inside track on the royal family, what they are up to in public and what's happening behind palace walls. Sign up here.
William has been attending in his capacity as President of the English Football Association (a pretty sweet gig for the football-loving royal) but at Sunday's appearance he'll also be representing the Queen. After all, the monarch can't be expected to sit through an entire 90-minute match at her age. Longer if it goes to extra time and penalties -- imagine that! Actually ... don't.
Royals don't go to matches just for the fun of it. As head of nation, the Queen has a duty to act as "a focus for national identity, unity and pride" and officially "recognise success and excellence." That's why the family was out in force at the London 2012 Olympics and for other major national events or moments of celebration. We Brits want them to cheer and get excited with us when things are going our way, just as we want them to do the opposite when we're losing. They don't just represent us, they also need to reflect the nation's emotions.
The Queen has mastered the art of expressing the national mood, even when she appears to be expressing no emotion at all. That's how she has connected with her subjects and remained relevant throughout her 69-year reign, despite having very little in common with them in reality.
Princes Charles and William will need to do the same when they take the throne if their reigns are to be as successful. The easy part of being King will be the formal duties that come with being head of state. The harder task is carrying those duties out in a way that feels like it's on behalf of the public.
Sunday will then be a key test for Prince William, up there on his own in the stands as the cameras come to him in big moments during the match, which will be watched by millions and could go down in history if fortune ultimately favors the English. It's his chance to be associated with that.
If he can look like the nation feels, it will be his biggest opportunity to date to connect with his future subjects and show he's there for them like his grandmother has always been. This isn't just about a royal football fan turning up to watch a game, it's about future-proofing the British monarchy and securing its place at the heart of the nation.
With football fever gripping England thanks to their stellar performance in the Euros, even Prince Charles is getting in on the action. He invited the band of the Coldstream Guards regiment to play instrumental versions of two fan favorite anthems in the garden of his London residence on Tuesday. The band played the song "Three Lions," with its ubiquitous "It's coming home" lyric, along with Neil Diamond's 1969 hit "Sweet Caroline," at Clarence House in support of the men's team, who will take on Italy in Sunday's final. Watch the musical renditions here.
Royals celebrate heroic healthcare service.
The Queen awarded the George Cross, the UK's highest civilian gallantry award, to the National Health Service as it marked its 73rd birthday on Monday. In a rare handwritten message, Elizabeth said NHS staff had "supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication." The George Cross was established by her father, King George VI, in 1940 during the height of the Blitz in World War II and recognizes "acts of the greatest heroism or of the most courage in circumstances of extreme danger." Prince William joined NHS staff at a thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral in London before hosting a tea party at Buckingham Palace.
Charles shares his playlist.
The Prince of Wales has revealed some of his favorite songs -- including one that used to give him "an irresistible urge to get up and dance." The Three Degrees, Diana Ross and Edith Piaf all made the cut as part of Charles' list, which he shared during an hour-long show on hospital radio to thank healthcare staff and volunteers for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic. See the full list here.
William gets back in the saddle for charity polo match.
The Duke of Cambridge will compete in a game at Guards Polo Club on Friday. The Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Charity Polo Cup 2021 will raise funds and awareness for several organizations that William and Kate support, Kensington Palace said. William has participated in several charity games over the years, often joined by his brother, the Duke of Sussex.
Still no pic of Baby Lili.
More than a month after her arrival, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have yet to release a photograph of their daughter publicly. While it's unusual that a royal couple wouldn't put out a snap, the move is in line with the pair's desire for less attention and scrutiny. Harry and Meghan are currently on extended parental leave following the birth of their second child but are keeping things ticking over with their Archewell foundation. They issued a new call to action this week asking the public to share stories of compassion on their website.
The Queen visited the set of the world's long-running television soap opera, "Coronation Street," in Manchester on Thursday. Her mother was reportedly a fan of the daily television series and Prince Charles even made a cameo appearance on the program in 2000 to mark its 40th anniversary.
Speaking of Prince Charles, he got the chance to take a hydrogen-powered car for a spin while visiting Riversimple, an eco-vehicle firm in Wales (Watch a clip of the test drive here). The Prince of Wales, who is known for his passion for the environment, converted the engine of his own Aston Martin to run on surplus wine and whey, a by-product of cheese production.