Prince William attended the England vs France football match yesterday evening at Wembley Stadium to show solidarity with the French population in the wake of the devastating Paris attacks of last week. On 13 November, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks took place in Paris outside the Stade de France, at the Bataclan Theatre, and on various streets in the 10th and 11th arrondissements.
The Prince is the President of the Football Association and he laid a wreath on the pitch along with Roy Hodgson, manager of the English football team, and Dider Deschamps, manager of the French football team. The trio were greeted with uproarious applause as they walked out.
The French national anthem, La Marseillaise, was played afterwards. The lyrics were visible on the big screen in French and phonetical English, and fans were given papers to hold up and form the tri-colour of the French flag.
Prime Minister David Cameron was also at the match and looked visibly moved as the French national anthem was played.
Kensington Palace released a statement saying, “Tonight’s game is a chance to pay tribute to the bravery and resolve of the French people and the French team, who were of course affected directly by Friday’s attacks.” And concluded the statement with, “Going ahead with the game is a powerful message of Britain’s friendship and partnership with France in the face of people who are intent on dividing societies.”
Earlier in the day, Prince William and his wife, The Duchess of Cambridge signed a condolence book at the French Embassy, writing, “To all those who have died and were injured in the heartless attacks in Paris, and to all the people in France: nos plus sincères condoléances [our deepest condolences].”
Prince Charles offered his “profound sympathy and solidarity” to the people of France the day after the attacks, while Queen Elizabeth also released a statement saying that she and Prince Philip were “deeply shocked and saddened by the terrible loss of life in Paris.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls captured the overall feeling of togetherness as he tweeted: “The Marseillaise at Wembley. Two peoples in unison. Immense emotion. Liberty. Equality. Brotherhood.”