The Duke of Cambridge yesterday hosted an outdoor screening of the FA Cup Final on the lawn of Sandringham House to raise the profile of his Heads Up mental health campaign.
This season’s final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley, which was empty due to the coronavirus pandemic, was renamed the Heads Up FA Cup Final after the campaign spear-headed by the Duke to raise awareness of mental health.
The Duke, a long-time Aston Villa supporter, spoke candidly before yesterday’s kick-off about his team’s victory over West Ham on Sunday which meant they avoided relegation.
“The nerves were the worst I’ve ever known them,” he said. “My children looked at me in horror as I was jumping off the sofa, screaming my head off.
“It’s very good news that as president of the FA that I can hide away until these moments, and I’m not visibly seen because it was one of the most stressful moments of my life, as I imagine every Villa fan felt on that day.”
The Duke watched yesterday’s final on a big screen at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk alongside former England captain Tony Adams, who helped found Heads Up, and comedian Romesh Ranganathan, who is an ambassador for the charity Calm – the Campaign Against Living Miserably.
The Duke correctly predicted the outcome of the match ahead of kick-off, telling an Arsenal fan: “I’m thinking 2-1 Arsenal.”
Later, the Duke joked that Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang required his assistance after he dropped the FA Cup trophy in front of his team-mates (below).
Aubameyang lost his grip as he went to lift the trophy following Arsenal’s victory, their 14th in an FA Cup final.
As the Duke, who is president of the FA, watched the blunder on a large outdoor screen in Sandringham, he shouted: “That’s why you need the president there.”
Under normal circumstances, the Duke would have presented the team with the trophy from the royal box at Wembley.
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