Prince William, the future king of the United Kingdom, is in the middle of a quandary that’s probably familiar to most people: wedding vs. sports. His younger brother, Prince Harry, is marrying actress Meghan Markle on Saturday, and he’s the best man. But England’s Football Association Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea is on Saturday as well, and William is expected to attend in an official capacity.
Why does Prince William need to attend the FA Cup final?
This is more about duty than about William wanting to watch some soccer on a Saturday afternoon. William has been the FA president since 2006, and he takes his responsibilities seriously. Every year, the FA president is expected to attend the final game at Wembley Stadium and present the trophy to the winner. The FA Cup final is a hugely important sporting event in England, and the president’s duties are a longstanding tradition.
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Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry together
Prince William, Duchess Kate and Prince Harry together
Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry applaud Prince William after his speech during a training event to promote the charity Heads Together, at the Queen Elizabeth II Park in London, Britain, February 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alastair Grant/Pool
Britain's Prince William, Kate Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (L) stand ready to give an award during a visit to The Mix in London, December 19, 2016. REUTERS/Alastair Grant/Pool
HAYES, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 20: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the official opening of The Global Academy in support of Heads Together on April 20, 2017 in Hayes, England. The Global Academy is a state school founded and operated by Global, The Media & Entertainment Group, educating students for careers in broadcasting and the digital media industry. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Kate Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, and Prince Harry (R) greet guests attending the Patron's Lunch, an event to mark Britain's Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday, in London, June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attend the Service of Hope at Westminster Abbey on April 5,2017 in London, United Kingdom. The multi-faith Service of Hope was held for the four people killed when Khalid Masood committed an act of terror in Westminster on Wednesday March 22. Survivors, bereaved families and members of the emergency services joined The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd and London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, in the congregation. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Prince Harry, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge join a Team Heads Together London Marathon Training Day at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on February 5, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry leaving the Institute of Contemporary Art in London where they outlined the next phase of their mental health Heads Together campaign.
Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry visit the Visitors Centre during the Somme centenary commemorations at the Thiepval memorial in France on July 01, 2016
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the Patron's Lunch in The Mall, central London in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday, in an open topped Range Rover.
Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave St Paul's Cathedral in London following a national service of thanksgiving to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a skirt by Banana Republic and a blouse by GOAT Fashion, arrive to attend the launch of the
Heads Together campaign at Olympic Park in London on May 16, 2016
The Duke of Cambridge (left), The Duchess of Cambridge (centre) and Prince Harry (right) attend the World Premiere of Spectre, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry arriving for the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, London, on Commonwealth Day.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry visit The Tower Of London's Ceramic Poppy installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' by artist Paul Cummins, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of First World War.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry watch riders at the finish line of Stage 1 of the Tour de France in Harrogate.
Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Cambridge watch a fly-past by the RAF on the balcony at Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour parade, London.
Prince Harry, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge with their wands on the set used to depict Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter Films during their visit to Warner Bros studios in Leavesden, Herts where the popular movies were produced.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watch with Prince Harry during the Team Eventing Jumping Final on day four of the London Olympic Games at Greenwich Park, London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry chat with children during a visit to Bacon's College in Greenwich, London, where they attended the launch of a new sports project that aims to train the next generation of sports coaches.
Prince William (left), Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in central London.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge talks to Prince Harry before a reception in the Waterloo Chamber, before her Sovereign Monarchs Jubilee lunch at Windsor Castle.
Prince William and his bride Kate leave Westminster Abbey, London, after their wedding, followed by Prince Harry (rear, left) and Pippa Middleton (rear, right).
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This conflict isn’t news to William, of course. He’s been thinking about it for months. Via USA Today, here’s an exchange between him and a broadcaster from the beginning of 2018.
“It’s a big decision, are we going to Wembley, or are we going to …?” William was asked by former England national team soccer player turned broadcaster Rio Ferdinand during an interview in January.
“You’ve touched on something there, Rio, yeah,” William responded. “I’m still working it out. I’ll see what I can do.”
He might be able to do both
Even though the two events are happening on the same day, they’re not happening at the same time. And that’s how Prince William might be able to attend both. The wedding starts at noon in England, while kickoff for the FA Cup final is at 5:30pm. He could attend the wedding and the lunchtime reception, traverse the 20 miles between St. George’s Chapel and Wembley in a helicopter, present the trophy to the winning team, and then return in time for the evening reception at Frogmore House.
No one knows what will happen yet
The wedding is just days away, but there’s been no official word from anyone — Prince William or FA officials — about Saturday. The FA hasn’t even publicly discussed a contingency plan. In fact, an “insider” revealed to The Daily Express in April that the FA expects William to be there no matter what. But according to USA Today, TV channel iTV reported that William won’t attend the FA Cup final and will spend the entire day at the wedding.
Will Prince William duck out of his brother’s wedding to attend a soccer match? Or will he anger English soccer fans with his absence? With four days until the nuptials, the answer will be revealed soon.