Cup final shame as thousands of fans boo Prince William ahead of game

14 May 2022, 22:48 | Updated: 16 May 2022, 12:08

By Emma Soteriou

Prince William faced boos from thousands of football fans during the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

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It came as the royal, who is the president of the FA, made his way across the pitch to shake hands with both sets of players ahead of kick-off.

The boos then got progressively louder through a rendition Abide With Me and then the national anthem - when people also made obscene hand gestures.

It was unclear if both sets of fans were involved in the jeers, though many watching the match reported that it came from Liverpool fans.

The booing of the anthem is thought to be a tradition for Liverpool supporters, which dates as far back as the 1980s.

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Prince William making his way on to the pitch.
Prince William making his way on to the pitch. Picture: Alamy

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has previously spoken out about the booing from his team's fans. 

In 2019, he said: "I don't think I'm the right person [to ask], I know a bit about the history but it's not for me to judge.

"I know the Liverpool supporters are respectful. If they give that sign the reason might be a bit in the past. But I've nothing else to say about that."

However, audiences online slammed the move, with one person tweeting: "Liverpool fans booing the national anthem and royal family is disgusting and shameful!"

Another tweeted: "Liverpool fans booing Prince William then our national anthem was a disgrace. The club should apologise."

A third person tweeted: "How low [h]as this country sunk, booing William, abide with me and then the national anthem? I dont get it - why??? The songs definitely, they ARE the FA Cup."

Prince William meeting the players ahead of the game.
Prince William meeting the players ahead of the game. Picture: Alamy

The outburst was also denounced across the political spectrum.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: "I utterly condemn any fans who booed Prince William at Wembley today.

"The FA Cup final should be an occasion when we come together as a country. It should not be ruined by a minority of fans' totally shameful behaviour.

"In this year of all years – the Queen's Platinum Jubilee – this is dreadful."

Tory MP Karen Bradley said: "It is utterly unacceptable and disgraceful that fans booed Prince William.

"I would urge the FA to take all necessary action and pursue those responsible."

Lib Dems leader Sir Ed Davey said: "We have the most wonderful monarch and those fans who booed do not represent their clubs or our country."

Some suggested that the fan reaction had a connection to the Hillsborough disaster, which saw 97 people killed in a fatal crush at the FA Cup semi-final in 1989.

Writer Omid Scobie, who co-authored the Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom, tweeted: "An unexpected moment at today's #FACupFinal, where Liverpool fans booed Prince William and National Anthem.

"My understanding (correct me if I'm wrong, Twitter) is that it's still felt there was an establishment cover-up over the Hillsborough disaster and getting justice for it."

Liverpool won against Chelsea
Liverpool won against Chelsea. Picture: Alamy

Liverpool beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes on Saturday.

William gave the cup, adorned with red ribbons, to Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson from the royal box as fans cheered.

It was passed from player to player before a beaming Klopp proudly raised the trophy - his first in the competition - above his head.

William also congratulated the Reds on Twitter, writing: "Congratulations @LFC on being crowned 2022 Men's FA Cup champions!

"Very well deserved after a long journey and commiserations to @ChelseaFC, you showed real fight for the full 120 minutes and more. W #FACupFinal".

Liverpool's victory marked their eighth in the FA Cup, and their first since 2006.