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Prince William hugged England's European Women's Championship winning "Lionesses"—as they brought home the country's first international soccer trophy since 1966 on Sunday.
The Duke of Cambridge joined in the celebrations in his role as President of the Football Association and broke with the increasingly outdated tradition that royals do not hug the public.
William congratulated the players as they went to collect their winners' medals after beating Germany 2-1 in added time.
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English actress Lisa Riley was among those to seize on the moment as she told her 132,000 Twitter followers: "Prince William hugging the players.....making me cry my eyes out!!!! ???????????????????? the true meaning of the word CHAMPIONS ???????????????????????? the whole country is behind you @Lionesses you are a credit to #england and #football CONGRATULATIONS ???????????? #Lionesses #LionessesLive."
Prince William hugging the players…..making me cry my eyes out!!!! ???????????????????? the true meaning of the word CHAMPIONS ???????????????????????? the whole country is behind you @Lionesses you are a credit to #england and #football CONGRATULATIONS ???????????? #Lionesses#LionessesLive
— LISA RILEY (@Reallisariley) July 31, 2022
Broadcaster Alastair Stewart wrote: "By appointment to HRH Prince William, a hug for @leahcwilliamson !"
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He added: "Well done HRH Prince William! That's genuine enthusiasm…and pride!!!!"
By appointment to HRH Prince William, a hug for @leahcwilliamson! https://t.co/b4D6BdyRxW
— Alastair Stewart (@AlStewartOBE) July 31, 2022
William later sent the team a message through his official Twitter account, proclaiming them an inspiration.
He wrote: "Sensational. An incredible win @lionesses and the whole nation couldn't be prouder of you all. Wonderful to see history in the making tonight at Wembley, congratulations! W"
Sensational. An incredible win @lionesses and the whole nation couldn’t be prouder of you all. Wonderful to see history in the making tonight at Wembley, congratulations! W
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 31, 2022
William then quoted a Tweet by the Lionesses official account which read "we have done it." He added: "Yes you have and you've inspired a nation too."
Prince William will be at Wembley to cheer on Lionesses in Euros final - and 'may bring Princess Charlotte'
Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, has confirmed that he will be at Wembley to cheer on the lionesses and he may even be bringing Charlotte. According to MailOnline, an FA source has said William is considering bringing seven-year-old Charlotte to the big game - although her attendance has not been confirmed. William recently revealed on a visit to the Lionesses' training camp that his daughter was a keen footballer and loved playing in goal. He told the team: "Charlotte wanted me to tell you that she’s really good in goal," reports The Mirror.
Queen Elizabeth II also released an official statement congratulating the team through her office at Buckingham Palace.
Signed, Elizabeth R, it read: "My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women's Football Championships. It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff.
"The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise. However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.
"You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations. It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today."
Royals have not historically been known for engaging in physical contact with members of the public, however, there are no formal rules forbidding it and the modern family are far more tactile than in the past.
The royal family's own website reads: "There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.
Soccer-England fans erupt as women's side win Euros final
Soccer-England fans erupt as women's side win Euros finalLONDON (Reuters) -Tens of thousands of soccer fans draped in the red and white flag of England erupted in joy at Wembley stadium on Sunday - and at fan parks, homes and pubs across the country - as their side won the Women's European Championship for the first time.
"For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way."
The royals have been increasingly willing to skip the formalities in recent years, to the point there was a significant debate about how touchy-feely Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were at royal events after she first moved to Britain.
More recently, William was praised for hugging a man, William Burns, 66, who was overcome with emotion after meeting the future king on a walkabout in Glasgow in May.
For more royal news and commentary check out Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast:
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Princess Charlotte 'Looking More & More Like Her Mother' in 'Adorable' Clip .
Princess Charlotte wished the England women's soccer team "good luck" in a video clip posted to social media by Prince William and Kate Middleton.Charlotte, who is the only daughter of Prince William and Kate, filmed a short video clip with her father wishing the England team (nicknamed the "Lionesses") good luck ahead of their UEFA Women's Euro Championship game against Germany on Sunday which they won with a 2-1 score.