The Wales Rugby Team gave its Vice Royal Patron, Prince William, two gifts for Prince George yesterday after their 15-24 battle against South Africa.
Her Majesty is the Patron of the Welsh Rugby League. In 2007, William became Vice Royal Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union.
Captain Sam Warburton gave William a tiny red Wales jersey with the number 7 and “George” emblazoned on the back.
First Minister Carwyn Jones gave William a certificate with the coordinates and location for the tree planted in Prince George’s honour as part of the Plant! project. Every newborn child has a tree planted in their name in Wales.
“It’s not right next to a dual carriageway is it?” William joked via Wales Online. He then thanked Mr. Jones for the gift.
Llyn Geirionydd, near Llanrwst is where Prince George’s tree has been planted.
Natalie Vaughan, a schoolgirl from Cardiff, came up with the Plant! project scheme. Vaughan wrote a letter proposing that whenever a child is born or adopted in Wales, a tree should be planted. Her local Assembly Member helped to get the scheme started.
“By planting trees for this new generation we are providing them with personal links to the environment and creating local, native woodlands that can be enjoyed for generations to come, “ FM Jones stated.
The South African team also presented William with a Springbok toy after the game.
Before the game, William met with former players who were injured and are now recipients of the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust. The trust began in 1972 and supports players who become seriously injured whilst playing rugby in Wales.
In 2005, Robert Davies broke his neck in a scrum. He is paralysed from the waist down. In 2007, he began to play table tennis and was part of 2012 Paralympic team, representing Great Britain.
“I still love rugby and when I sleep I still dream about it but table tennis allows me to compete and I really enjoy it. It was great to speak to Prince William, the Trust has really helped me,” Davies commented.
“He is a really lovely guy. You could sit down with him and have a beer all night, he is one of the lads,” added Richard Vowles, who also was paralysed during a match in 1998.
In speaking of the impact of William’s visit, Dennis Gethin, Welsh Rugby Union President and chairman of the Trust said: “The former players are absolutely thrilled that he makes time to speak to each and every one of them. At the moment there are twenty players here who are wheelchair bound and have suffered terminal catastrophic injury all during the game of rugby.”
When William arrived at the stadium he noticed a large portrait of his Grandmother titled ‘Icon.’ The 5ft 4in high piece was created for the Queen’s 60th anniversary of her Coronation by artist Dan Llywelyn Hall.
It is the first time the work has been displayed on a match day.
“Oh fantastic, how long did it take you?” William asked Mr. Hall. Mr. Hall told the Prince that the piece took three months to finish including the sitting in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle with Her Majesty.
Writer Owen Sheers also met with the new father and gave him his book Calon, which is about the final match Wales played in the 2012 Grand Slam campaign.
“It makes a big difference to the players to have Prince William’s vote of confidence. He is a big rugby fan and to have him here supporting Wales today is fantastic,” Sheers enthused after meeting William.
“I am so proud to be vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union during what has been a truly memorable time, and I am sure that – given the strength of the squad – this is only the beginning of a great period for Welsh rugby. The Prince William Cup certainly pitches two of the best teams in the world right now against one another for what I am sure will be an exciting and hard-fought match,” William stated before the match.
The Welsh Rugby Union held a minute of silence to honour those who perished and veterans prior to Remembrance Sunday.
“This is not an empty ceremony, repeated for the sake of form, but a living act of remembrance and gratitude,” William noted.