Prince William - president of the British Football Association - today hosted the first ever football match to be held at Buckingham Palace, telling the teams before kick-off, “One warning, though: if anyone breaks a window, you can answer to my grandmother.”
The Queen is still in Scotland, prompting William to add, “The one small silver lining to Her Majesty not being present today is that there shouldn’t be any corgis running on to the pitch!”
Prince William presented medals to the 150 football volunteers before kick-off.
William said, "Whilst it is a privilege to be president of the Football Association, if I am honest, for me, the role is more an extension of a personal passion. Football, in particular being a Villa supporter, has brought me a great deal of pleasure over the years. A chance to escape with friends and family and enjoy its virtues – teamwork, competition, endeavour and, more occasionally on my part, skill.
“At its best, football is a powerful force for good in society. It binds people from different backgrounds, communities, faiths and abilities – and gives them a common interest, a unifying identity. I believe over its 150 years, football has remained a wonderful example of the power of community and of our ability to come together to organise and to enjoy a simple pastime.
“As a nation, we were rightly proud of the volunteer ‘gamesmakers’ who supported last year’s Olympic Games. But for those of us involved in football, this was not a new phenomenon. Grassroots football thrives on the support of its volunteers week after week. You and your colleagues are the original games-makers, and we are all in your debt for it.
“Reading through your citations, I don’t think any of you realise quite how impressive what you do is. You change lives, you give people meaning, enjoyment, perspective, a release, an outlet; you bring people together and inject fun, laughter, passion, goals and challenges into others’ lives. It is people like you who make our country what it is. I sincerely hope that you are immensely proud of your efforts and achievements.”