Prince William
Prince William Getty Images/Richard Stonehouse

Prince William received flak for not personally cheering on his country's team during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on Sunday, Aug. 20. Instead, he sent a pre-recorded video message to extended his "huge good luck" to England's Lionesses.

The 41-year-old's absence during the game was reportedly a "snub" to the team, given that he has been the president of England's Football Association for nearly 20 years. Instead of flying to Sydney, Australia, to personally show his support, he recorded his message instead with his daughter, Princess Charlotte.

The Lionesses failed to bring the World Cup back to England for the first time since the men's victory in 1966. Spain won and Queen Letizia and her younger daughter, Infanta Sofia, were there to celebrate as La Roja took home its first-ever World Cup championship for the women's team.

As for Prince William, his absence was called a "massive mistake" by royal expert Shannon Felton Spence. She told Fox News Digital that it was his job to be there as the Prince of Wales and President of the Football Association and that the match was an "opportunity to demonstrate to the world that women's sports are as valuable as men's sports."

"It was further bungled by the social media video they posted that only featured Princess Charlotte. It's hard to not imagine how differently it would have played out had it been England's men in the World Cup. Truly a massive misstep by the Prince of Wales," she said.

Over at X formerly Twitter, netizens also questioned if the future king would have attended the game had it been the men's team playing. One wrote, "Genuine question. If this was the men's team making the final would you be attending?"

Another criticised Prince William saying that he "should relinquish role as President of FA & offer it to someone with more time." The user wrote, "#Lionesses are role models for girls & women not only in sport but in believing dreams can come true .. monumental achievements deserve tangible support - optics disappointing."

Meanwhile, royal commentator Ian Pelham Turner pointed out that morning broadcasters in the U.K. had called Prince William "stubborn" and "lazy" adding, "The feeling is a short video sent by William was not enough, although football officials have played down the significance of his attendance."

Kinsey Schofield, host of the "ToDiFor Daily" podcast, cited claims that climate change concerns prompted the Prince of Wales not to fly to Australia. She said the royal would still have been criticised either way. She also claimed that it "wouldn't be a good reflection on the king for his heir to visit Australia first" since his ascension.

Meanwhile, royal author Duncan Larcome believes that discussions about last weekend's mishap will be inevitable when King Charles III holds a summit with the Prince and Princess of Wales in Sandringham. It is reportedly a "high-stakes" meeting where the monarch will discuss the couple's "star quality" as younger members of The Firm. But he believes that His Majesty will "not be cross" at his son for not flying to Australia.

He explained, "I think it is a reminder of just how much press is on Prince William... [William] has to prioritise which causes he supports and which bits of foreign travel he does."

Schofield added, "I think it's refreshing to see Prince William choose to stay home with his babies than run off to cheer on a sports team. There is something incredibly real about him choosing to sit at home and watch the game on his couch surrounded by his babies."

Fellow royal author Christopher Andersen noted that the public will see more of Prince William and Kate Middleton in the coming months and cited talks about a "sweeping two-year global tour." He said he would not be surprised if Kensington Palace "soon announces the details of a kind of international charm offensive."