Prince of Wales says football 'taught him about disappointment

Prince of Wales says football ‘taught him that disappointment’ is ‘a part of life’ while self-doubt is ‘always lurking’ during interview with Harry Kane

  • Prince William, 40, appeared on a special edition of Game of Fives with players
  • The royal has been President of the FA since 2006 and is an Aston Villa supporter
  • Prince of Wales spoke about how the game has taught him about disappointment
  • Also said ‘self doubt’ is ‘always lurking’ for many people, including himself

Prince William has spoken of how football ‘taught him that disappointment is a part of life’ during a candid discussion on a special edition of Game of Fives with a number of famous players.

The Prince of Wales sat down with England stars Harry Kane and Declan Rice as they discussed their fondest football memories and the ways it has bolstered their mental wellbeing during a 25-minute video available on YouTube. 

The episode is hosted by Kelvyn Quagraine, and organised by football media company Copa90 with the Royal Foundation.

During their conversation, the royal, who is referred to as just ‘William’, credits football with teaching him that ‘disappointment is a part of life.’

He said: ‘You learn by playing a number of times and many other things in life that disappointment is part of life and how you handle it is crucial.

Prince William has spoken of how football ‘taught him that disappointment is a part of life’ during a candid discussion on a special edition of Game of Fives with a number of famous players

‘Handling some of those really disappointing England results in the past, that was hard, I found that really difficult, because again the same euphoria that we had comes crashing down.

‘You feel high and all together, and then normal life just gets on again.’

Elsewhere, William spoke about self-belief and self-doubt, saying: ‘The difference between the two and what route your life takes…

‘Self belief is so crucial, but self doubt is always lurking on…on the both sides of everyone’s lives, no matter what walk of life you’re in.

The Prince of Wales sat down with England stars Harry Kane and Declan Rice as they discussed their fondest football memories and the ways it has bolstered their mental wellbeing during a 25-minute video available on YouTube

‘If you take the wrong path or something happens beyond your control, you can end up in the self doubt quite quickly, and then things can get much harder.’ 

The prince also recalled playing four simultaneous games of football with his entire set at school – around 60 pupils – using multiple balls.

He spoke about playing football at school, recalling it as ‘complete carnage and chaos’, adding: ‘That’s what led me on to wanting to play more and more football. I loved it.’ 

He told the football stars: ‘The sheer size and scale and just the fun of everyone running around chasing each other, I loved it.


A number of photographs of the Duke were released alongside the episode, where William spoke about his love of football

‘I was a defender, I was stuck at the back and told to just tackle.’

The prince said he looked to former England defender Rio Ferdinand for ‘inspiration’ when he was playing football at school.

William joked: ‘He was ahead of me just a little bit as time went on.’

‘I played more football than I watched when I was younger, getting football facts was much harder – the playing was much more important than watching football back then. It’s switched now, but it was the joy of playing the game.’

Yesterday, the Prince of Wales shared an image of him appearing deep in conversation with England football stars – just two weeks before the World Cup in Qatar

William added that he has a ‘lot of friends’ he met through playing football in his youth.

‘Some of the greatest friendships are born from playing games and being pushed together in slight adversity,’ he said.

He spoke about how inspiring he had found Wayne Rooney, saying: ‘There was something so powerful and interesting about how Wayne played and the steel he bought to the England team.

‘When Wayne really delivered on the national team, it was being in the pub again and everyone watching the TV, bringing the country together. Everyone is rooting together, everyone is shouting – that’s what I love about football, it’s bringing everyone together. I don’t want to put too much pressure on the boys, but it’s a family within a family.

The royal has been President of the FA since 2006 and yesterday teased a special royal edition Game of Fives is ‘coming tomorrow’

‘I just felt like I could go and have a natter with a guy in a corner who had clearly been there way too long.’ 

Spurs striker Kane remembered his father giving him £5 after he scored his first goal when he was five years old, and spoke about the Harry Kane Foundation, which has partnered with Shout.

The England captain said: ‘I’ve just launched a foundation which is really exciting for me.

‘My aim is to, especially to the younger generation, talk to them and try and provide ways of talking about mental health and wellbeing.

‘The more we talk about it, and open up, it will definitely help solve and hopefully encourage people not to be afraid to ask for help, especially when you are feeling a little bit lower.’

West Ham captain Rice said that as a child he loved playing football with his older brothers, and explained how England’s loss in the Euros final last year brought the squad closer together.

Speaking about the final against Italy, the England midfielder said: ‘There was a special moment after that game, the togetherness when we all come in a huddle after we’d lost that, and Gareth said some really important words.

‘As a group, I think that brought us forward together because then we had to qualify for a World Cup in the next round of games.

A director’s clapperboard hinted at filming that had taken place last month on the royal special edition of Game of Fives 

‘We really overcame that setback of losing that final, showed our togetherness and our strength and I feel that we are in a really good place as a national team that we can keep pushing and getting better because the togetherness we’ve built is really special to be a part of.’

Ed Groves, managing editor at Copa90, said he hoped their conversation would remind people of ‘the power of talking when dealing with their mental health’.

‘As football fans we can experience every emotion possible within 90 minutes,’ he said.

‘But while we all crave basking in collective glory, we need to remember to support each other through the harder moments – in football and in life.’

Mr Groves encouraged fans to come together to watch Qatar 2022 matches.

Prince William has been president of the FA since 2006 and is a passionate football fan. Last month, a source said Prince William may look at travelling to the World Cup in Qatar if England reach the final.

The Prince of Wales, who is president of the Football Association, ruled out attending the tournament due to a ‘busy winter schedule’.

However, it is understood his office may look at making arrangements if England reach the final on December 18.

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