Prince Charles praised Marcus Rashford's "mission … to tackle child hunger" after the soccer player received racist harassment after Team England lost the Euro 2020 finals in overtime on Sunday

By Lanford Beard
July 14, 2021 12:42 PM
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Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Marcus Rashford
Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images; Matthias Hangst - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Prince Charles is praising Team England soccer player Marcus Rashford for his work off the pitch.

The Prince of Wales was speaking on the U.K.'s Radio 4 about sustainable farming on Wednesday when he named Rashford among a select few celebrities whose work aligns with his own passion.

Said Charles, 73, "From field to fork, extraordinary work is being done to try and build a better food system for everyone, be it Jamie Oliver promoting education and a balanced diet, [restaurateur] Henry Dimbleby's ambitions for safe, healthy and affordable food, or Marcus Rashford whose mission off the football field is to tackle child hunger."

Since the disruptions of the COVID-19 lockdown, Rashford, 23, has been an ardent advocate for the British government to provide free school meals, particularly during school holidays, to combat hunger for children in underserved families. It's an especially personal mission for the Manchester United forward as he was the recipient of free school meals when he was a child.

This is the second time this week Charles has used his platform to support Rashford. The first came indirectly on Monday when the prince shared an excerpt from his speech on Windrush Day 2020 in the U.K., when he noted how "the rich diversity of cultures which make this country so special — and in many ways unique — lies at the heart of what we can be as a nation."

Many saw the quote as a response to the racist abuse Rashford, along with England teammates Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, received online after they missed penalty kicks in overtime that ensured England's loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

The Clarence House post came shortly after Prince William addressed the racism more directly on Monday.

Prince William and Prince George
Prince George and Prince William
| Credit: Frank Augstein/Pool/Getty Images

William, who attended Sunday's finale with wife Kate Middleton and son Prince George in his capacity as President of the Football Association, shared a firm rebuke of the social media harassment: "I am sickened by the racist abuse aimed at England players after last night's match. It is totally unacceptable that players have to endure this abhorrent behaviour. It must stop now and all those involved should be held accountable."

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Shortly after the loss on Sunday, William took a gracious and reassuring tone, comforting Team England and the nation just as he had comforted his young son. Though he called the loss "heartbreaking," he continued on Instagram: "Congratulations @Azzurri on a great victory. @England, you've all come so far, but sadly this time it wasn't our day. You can all hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves — I know there's more to come."

William signed both posts with a "W," signifying a personal message rather an a statement from his office at Kensington Palace.