The Duke of Cambridge has praised the England women’s football team for eclipsing their male counterparts with their “fantastic” World Cup performance.
Prince William, president of the Football Association, hosted a Kensington Palace reception for the footballers, who won a bronze medal in Canada - the best England result at a major tournament not played on home soil.
Now the pressure really starts!
The squad, including Wearsiders Steph Houghton and Jill Scott as well as other former Sunderland players Lucy Bronze, Jordan Nobbs and Carly Telford, had been wished well in person by the Duke before they left for the World Cup and he remained in regular contact, sending the players messages, speaking to them by phone and staying up into the early hours to watch their matches.
And he shared many laughs with them during the breakfast event, telling the women: “You showed the men how to do it - I really mean it.”
He also told the team that the country had been supporting them while they were away: “You really gave it your all, and everybody here noticed it - social media was alive with it.
“I’m so proud ... now it’s the Euros,” he said, adding, to laughs from the players: “Now the pressure really starts.”
He went on: “What you created as a team - it’s fantastic. You’re only going to get bigger and better.”
William joked about his son, Prince George, telling the team “I was going to bring George this morning”, and when they let out a collective sigh of disappointment he said the toddler was playing with his toy plane.