The Duke of Cambridge shared curry snacks and beer as he took part in a podcast with soccer star Peter Crouch at Kensington Palace

By Simon Perry
July 28, 2020 07:00 PM
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Prince William is a doting and proud dad, who jokingly accepted a challenge on behalf of his 7-year-old son Prince George: That he could one day be a record-breaking player for the royals' favorite soccer team, Aston Villa.

When asked by former soccer star Peter Crouch whether he thought George could one day be Aston Villa's all-time leading goal scorer, William, 38, happily responded, "Definitely, I reckon he could. I reckon he could be their all-time leading goal scorer. I can see no reason why not. It would be brilliant.”

And he hopes that George will get as much enjoyment from watching his favorite team as he has done for more than 20 years.

“I’m trying not to persuade him to be a Villa fan – I’m letting him choose his own way. It’s about finding what fits for him,” William told Crouch during an interview at Kensington Palace for the athlete's podcast, That Peter Crouch Podcast, on BBC Radio Five Live.

Prince William speaks to Peter Crouch on "That Peter Crouch Podcast"
Kensington Palace

“I do like the values and the ethos of the club. I want them to look after the players and set a good example to the young fans. I want our children, when they go the match, to come away loving what they’ve seen, enjoying it, and seeing their role models behave in a way that we’d all want them to," William added.

Prince George
The Duchess of Cambridge

George and younger sister Prince Charlotte attended a match with William and mom Kate Middleton last fall when they went to see Villa take on Norwich in October.

"We tried to slip in there quietly but the cameras picked us up. Best game of Villa’s season! It ended 5-1," the prince shared.

William chatted with the former soccer star over beer and curry snacks at Kensington Palace in March and followed up with a recent video call as a prelude to the upcoming end of the soccer season. This Saturday’s FA Cup final, between Arsenal and Chelsea, is a high point in William’s Heads Up mental health campaign, which has been running throughout the current season. So much so that the game has been renamed the Heads Up FA Cup Final.

Prince William
Kensington Palace

During the podcast recording sessions, Crouch sipped Guinness at a table in the palace that was laid with crispy poppadoms and plastic pots of spicy chutneys (from Crouch’s favorite curry house, Samrat in Ealing, London) and water glasses etched with the royal cipher.

During the light-hearted chat, the conversation moved on to the subject of presents, which had William sharing that Kate, 38, was once perplexed by his choice of binoculars as gift during their dating years.

"That was early on in the courtship that was. I wrapped them. They were really nice," he recalled. "I was trying to convince myself about it. I was like, ‘But these are really amazing, look how far you can see!’ She was looking at me going, ‘They’re binoculars, what’s going on?’ It didn’t go well. Honestly, I have no idea why I bought her a pair of binoculars.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton
PA Images

More recently, during lockdown homeschooling lessons at home, he has found that helping George with his schoolwork is harder than he thought.

He said he has learned that "my patience is a lot shorter than I thought it was . . . and that my wife has a lot of patience. I was a bit embarrassed about my maths knowledge – I can’t do Year 2 Maths!”

For William, soccer gives him a great release, especially since he became a dad.

“Since being a dad, football has become way more important to me than it ever used to. It’s really weird. I need to go and let off a bit of steam. It’s become a lot more relevant to me and I need it," he shared.

William has had a good end to the season, as Villa managed to stay in the Premier League last weekend, something celebrated by the prince with a rare personal tweet.

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During the chat, the group, which also included Tom Fordyce and Chris Stark, talked about the importance of mental well-being.

“We all have mental health, and we all have to stay mentally fit . . . It’s a strength to talk about your mental health, it’s not a weakness. You know if you’re not feeling well, something’s bothering you, talk about it – it’s not a problem," William said.

Crouch added, “I’m in the environment where it’s so male-orientated, and any weakness shown is an excuse not to make it . . . When I started talking about it and opened up, I did feel so much better, and that was just through talking.”

The podcast is the latest move in William’s mission to make mental health a priority across soccer. The prince, 38, believes the sport can play a positive role in promoting mental well-being. Earlier this week, the initiative saw him talk to David Beckham about the pressures he has faced during his high-profile career.