Prince William and Marcus Rashford were reunited ahead of the FA Cup final clash between Manchester Untied and Manchester City today – two years after William awarded the footballer his MBE.
The Prince of Wales – who is the president of the Football Association – greeted every player, the officials, and both managers one-by-one ahead of kick-off at Wembley this afternoon.
After shaking hands with the finalists, William eventually got to the very end of the line where he found a more than friendly face in Marcus Rashford.
Prince William – then the Duke of Cambridge – previously awarded the footballer-turned-campaigner his MBE in November 2021 at Windsor Castle.
Rashford was recognised the honour for his campaign to ensure no child in need went hungry, which forced the Government into a U-turn over providing free school meal vouchers for 1.3million children during the 2021 summer holidays.
Ahead of kick-off, Rashford and William were able to share a warm smile and a brief chat before attention tuned to the pitch – but not before Prince William joined in the excitement as he belted out the national anthem alongside an excited crowd.
Prince William shakes hands with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford ahead of the English FA Cup final
After shaking hands with the finalists, William eventually got to the very end of the line where he found a more than friendly face in Marcus Rashford
Price William – then the Duke of Cambridge – awarded the footballer-turned-campaigner his MBE in November 2021 at Windsor Castle
The excitement was short-lived for some of the crowd as David Beckham looked glumly on with his son Brooklyn when Manchester City smashed a goal past his old side in just 13 seconds.
Ilkay Gundogan ruthlessly set the pace, thundering a stunning volley into the back of the net that Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea could do little about.
With his head in his hand, Beckham seemed stunned by the electric pace as the 32-year-old German opened the scoring.
City fans went wild for the incredible start – celebrating with ‘the Poznań’ where they bounced together in the stands as their team drew ahead.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the red half of Manchester as Jack Grealish was controversially judged to have handled the ball in the box after a VAR review, giving United an opportunity form the spot.
Manchester United’s talisman Bruno Fernandes stepped up and with his iconic hop, skip, and a jump, knocked the ball past Ortega in goal.
However, as expected, City weren’t going to let that phase them and Pep Guardiola’s men came back swinging.
Kevin De Bruyne swang the ball across to Gundogan, who was completely unmarked on the edge of the United box again – but with slightly less aplomb to his spectacular first half strike – to give Manchester City the win and one hand on an historic treble.
Prince William joined in the excitement at the FA Cup final – as he belted out the national anthem alongside an excited crowd
But the excitement was short lived for some around him – as David Beckham looked glumly on with his son Brooklyn when Manchester City smashed a goal past his old side in just 13 seconds
City fans went wild for the incredible start – bouncing in the stands as their team drew ahead
Ilkay Gundogan ruthlessly set the pace, thundering a stunning volley past De Gea from the edge of the box
And a couple more close shots have left fans cheering – as the team in sky blue look to extend their lead
Away from the pitch, the Met Police are on high alert – with arrests made as fans streamed into the capital.
And a couple more close shots have left fans cheering – as the team in sky blue look to extend their lead.
Earlier, excitement flooded the streets of Wembley as Manchester fans get ready to battle it out for the FA Cup Final.
As super-fans travel across the country by bus, 90,000 supporters are expected descend on the London stadium for a Manchester Derby away from home.
The game kicks off at 3pm so not to clash with the Epsom Derby taking place at 4:30pm at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey.
And amid crippling trainstrikes, the FA confirmed that an additional 120 coaches, 60 for each team, will make the 400-mile round trip from Manchester to London so that fans are able to attend the event.
Now Wembley Way is awash with red and sky blue as the two teams hope to confirm – or deny – City’s hope to complete their treble dream.
Sir Alex Ferguson (centre) watches the club he once managed from the stands, sat with Manchester United co-chairman Avram Glazer (left) and former club chief executive David Gill (right)
Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak (left) shakes hands with former Manchester United player David Beckham
Gareth Southgate, Manager of England (centre) looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup Final
Manchester City fans on Wembley Way are hot with anticipation as they urge their team to a historic treble
Wembley Way is awash with red and sky blue as the two teams hope to confirm their victory
A Manchester City fan poses with a hand-made poster of Rodri – one of the team’s star midfielders
Citizens pose by the stadium – complete with Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland cuddly toys
Manchester United fans Tom and Josh get ready for the game on Wembley Way
Fans get ready for the game – chanting as they get out of the station
A confident fan celebrates into the camera as they tramp towards the ground
Foung fans of the game chant for City outside the famous stadium
It comes after a dominant year for Manchester City – after storming ahead of Arsenal to win their third Premier League title in a row.
And with the Champions League final against Inter Milan just a week away, fans are bracing themselves for a dream result.
But local rivals Manchester United – who were the last British club to achieve the feat in 1999 with the Class of ’92 – are hoping to knock their old rivals down to size at their second hurdle.
Back in October, United were humbled at the Etihad, where they were fortunate to suffer only a 6-3 defeat at the hands of Erling Haaland and Phil Foden.
But three months later Ten Hag’s side toppled City at Old Trafford. It was a 2-1 win that hinged on a contentious offside decision but became a powerful statement in Ten Hag’s first season.
The industrial action coincides with the Manchester derby final at Wembley stadium as well as the Epsom Derby and a number of other sporting and music events.
The strike follows a walkout by train drivers on Wednesday and by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) on Friday in long-running disputes over pay, jobs and conditions.
There were concerns before today that some football fans would be unable to reach the capital due to a shortage of coaches and greater traffic on the motorways.
A City fan celebrates with a cigar as they prepare for the big game
Hustlers shout their wares – flogging merchandise bearing the faces of Grealish, Haaland and Foden
Two young lads pose for a photo under the statue of 1966 legend Bobby Moore
Manchester United fans drink outside a pub near to Wembley ahead of the match
Fans sing their hearts out as they make their way to the ground from the station
Two United fans look down on the crowds – waiting for the match to begin
A return ticket costs £60 for adults and £55 for under 15s, with spaces only available to those with tickets to the game.
Both clubs – who were given more than 30,500 tickets priced between £45 and £145 – are also putting on subsidised coaches for the final.
United are laying on 20 coaches, which seat an average of 50 people. The club are charging £50 for adults and £40 for under-16s for a return journey.
City have also organised a fleet of coaches to take their fans to the final, priced the same as United.
But they will not depart from the Etihad Stadium because the venue is hosting a Coldplay concert today as well.
The coaches and those wishing to drive to the capital have been advised to take different travel routes down to London and stop at different service stations on the way.
Motorway services have also been allocated to each club.
City fans have been asked to use Lymm, Sandbach, Stafford, Norton Canes, Corley, Rugby, Watford Gap, Northampton, Newport Pagnell, Toddington and London Gateway.
For United, fans have been allocated Knutsford, Keele, Hilton Park, Warwick, Cherwell Valley, Oxford and Beaconsfield.
Police remove a flare from someone as fans make their way towards Wembley Stadium ahead of the FA Cup Final
Two young fans don’t let their teams get between them – as they prepare for the big game together
Manchester United fan Graham McLauchlan poses outside in his Man United get-up
The superfan has all the gear – with a stunning scarf, shirt, jacketr and hat combination
Manchester City fans look serious as they pose for a picture on Wembley Way
Manchester United fans with an inflatable trophy pose for a picture on Wembley Way
Manchester City fans chant witha arms raised as they arrive at the stadium
Today’s disruption will also affect those attending the England vs Ireland test match at Lord’s cricket ground and Beyonce’s Renaissance tour concert at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said around 40% of trains will run on Saturday but there will be wide regional variations with some areas having no services.
Picket lines will be mounted outside train stations across the country on Saturday, while inside platforms are expected to be all but empty with drivers at 15 companies in England going on strike.
The train operating companies involved in the dispute are Avanti West Coast; Chiltern Railways; CrossCountry; East Midlands Railway; Great Western Railway; Greater Anglia; GTR Great Northern; Thameslink; London North Eastern Railway; Northern Trains; Southeastern; Southern/Gatwick Express; South Western Railway; SWR depot drivers; SWR Island Line; TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk