Euro 2024: Prince William hopes for early birthday present as he flies out to cheer on England against Denmark

The Prince of Wales was hoping for an early birthday present from the Three Lions on Thursday as he headed to Germany to join thousands of England fans cheering on the team as they take on Denmark in the Euros.

William, who turns 42 on Friday, was set to watch Gareth Southgate’s side in their second group stage match at the Frankfurt Arena on Thursday afternoon.

The royal, who is president of the FA and a fan of Premier League side Aston Villa, presented shirts to the England squad before the team left for Germany, making a surprise visit to St George’s Park, England’s national football centre in Burton upon Trent.

He also shared some advice from his younger son, Prince Louis, who suggested the players “eat twice the amount” to secure their bid for Euros glory.

The trip will be a solo one for William, as the Princess of Wales is still away from public duties while she continues her treatment for cancer.

England’s 1-0 win in their first game against Serbia — while group rivals Denmark and Slovenia could only draw — means they already top the group.

Victory against Denmark would see them through to the last 16, with one group game still left to play. That has pushed demand for match tickets sky-high with some re-sale websites advertising them for sale for as much as £20,000.

Thursday’s Standard front page (Evening Standard)
Thursday’s Standard front page (Evening Standard)

The ground holds 47,000 people who may have to watch the game beneath its retractable roof as heavy rain is predicted for the city.

The weather could also force the closure of fan parks in the city and Gelsenkirchen where England played their opener, leaving thousands having to watch the action in bars and cafés.

England supporters have travelled in huge numbers to Germany for the tournament which kicked off last Friday and ends with the final on Sunday, July 14.

Meanwhile, at home, more than 10 million tuned in to watch the game against Serbia, with TV bosses hoping for even bigger audiences if the team progresses through the tournament.

The Euro 2020 final, played at Wembley, saw England lose out to Italy on penalties and the audience across both the BBC and ITV hit a peak of 30.95 million, making it the country’s highest television audience since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.

England’s match winner on Sunday — Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham — has been hailed as a champion of England’s multi-ethnic society by campaigners against racism in sport.

A joint letter signed by footballers including England’s first black player, Viv Anderson, said that Bellingham and his teammates including Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka showed the positive legacy of migration and multiculturalism ahead of the 76th anniversary on Saturday of the arrival of the Empire Windrush bringing arrivals from the Caribbean to Britain as part of post-war reconstruction.