Daily Mail

Sheen slams Prince of Wales ... for being an England fan

- By Rebecca English Royal Editor

THE Prince of Wales has come under fire from leading Welsh actor Michael Sheen who questioned why he is supporting England at the World Cup.

Wales are also playing in the tournament in Qatar – the first time they have reached the final stages since 1958.

England and Wales are in the same group and will play each other on November 29.

Writing on Twitter, Sheen, 53, who starred as Tony Blair in hit 2006 film The Queen, said: ‘He can, of course, support whoever he likes and as Pres of FA his role makes visit understand­able – but surely he sees holding the title Prince of Wales at same time is entirely inappropri­ate? Not a shred of embarrassm­ent? Or sensitivit­y to the problem here?’

Sheen’s comments follow Prince William’s visit to England’s training centre on Monday where he presented players with shirts and wished them well. Although William became Prince of Wales after the Queen’s death and his father’s accession to the throne in September, he has made it clear that he will publicly be behind the England side as a long-term fan and Football Associatio­n President.

In 2020 it emerged that Sheen had handed back his OBE for services to drama three years previously so that he could air his views about the monarchy without being a ‘hypocrite’.

He said he meant no disrespect but wanted to speak openly about how he saw the relationsh­ip between Wales and the UK state.

William yesterday visited the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff for the first time and he addressed the football dilemma head- on in a light-hearted chat with presiding officer Elin Jones. She showed the prince her Wales football hat and said: ‘They play each other in a few weeks’ time. I won’t ask you!’

He replied: ‘No, it’s OK. I’m telling everyone I’m supporting both – definitely. I can’t lose. I’ve supported England since I’ve been quite small. But I support Welsh rugby and that’s my way of doing it. I happily support Wales over England in the rugby so I’ve got to be able to play carefully with my affiliatio­ns. I worry – otherwise if I suddenly drop England to support Wales then that doesn’t look right for the sport either. So I can’t do that.’ Miss Jones said in good humour: ‘We can agree to disagree.’

William, 40, added: ‘An England v Wales World Cup final would be the best – that would be pretty good.’ He stressed: ‘I’m making sure I’m out there supporting Wales through all the process because I know it’s a big deal for Wales. When I was growing up, Wales weren’t getting through to the tournament­s so I had to make a choice.’

A source previously told the Mail that – while he is committed to promoting the people, culture and communitie­s of Wales – the prince has been president of the English Football Associatio­n since 2006 and is a fan.

The insider said he feels it would seem ‘disingenuo­us’ now to switch allegiance suddenly. They said: ‘Prince William is delighted and hugely proud of the Welsh team for reaching their first final since 1958. He’ll be showing his support to Wales and celebratin­g their great achievemen­t.

‘But it would be quite disingenuo­us for someone who hasn’t been shy about supporting England his entire life to start changing his allegiance­s now, as football fans would agree.’ Sheen’s opinion has been echoed by others in Wales who have questioned whether it is right in the modern age for William to inherit the Prince of Wales title from his father Charles.

The title was historical­ly held by native Welsh rulers but was given by King Edward I in the 13th century to his son in order to consolidat­e the English Crown’s position in Wales. Since then it has been bestowed upon the heir apparent to the UK throne.

William has made it clear that he is acutely conscious of sensitivit­ies, saying he would approach his new role with ‘humility and grace’ and wanted to earn the trust of the Welsh people.

He has said there are no plans for any formal Prince of Wales investitur­e ceremony like his father’s in 1969.

William also yesterday addressed calls for him to learn Welsh, saying: ‘I need to brush up on mine. I can do “bore da” [good morning]. I can do a few phrases. ’

 ?? ?? Meet and greet: Prince William chats to England’s World Cup stars in a visit to their training base on Monday
Meet and greet: Prince William chats to England’s World Cup stars in a visit to their training base on Monday
 ?? ?? Sticking the boot in: Welsh actor Michael Sheen
Sticking the boot in: Welsh actor Michael Sheen

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