While every royal wedding fan in the United States is jumping for joy over the announcement of the official wedding date (May 19, 2018—mark your calendars!), choosing that specific Saturday actually caused quite a stir across the pond, and Prince William has had to adjust his schedule accordingly.
Turns out, the annual Emirates FA Cup Final also falls on May 19, which happens to be the biggest sporting event in the UK (no biggie). The football (or commonly known as soccer here in the States) Cup marks the last match of the Football Association Challenge Cup, and its date was announced months ago. It has one of the highest attendance rates for any soccer game in the world, so it makes sense why so many Brits have expressed their frustration over this double booking of two major UK festivities.
But, this has also presented a huge conflict for Prince William specifically.
As president of the Football Association for the past twelve years, Prince William usually attends the game and presents the trophy to the winning team. But, seeing as he'll most likely be Prince Harry's best man and all, his brotherly duties and the royal wedding will come first that day. According to ITV News, William announced that he will miss the Cup in order to attend his younger brother's nuptials, and he had reportedly been "struggling to work out how he can attend both." So far, there's been no word on who might potentially fill in William's role during the Cup.
Unfortunately for the UK's die-hard football fans, there's no hope of the event, held at Wembley Stadium, switching dates. In a statement released by the Football Association, the organization declared that it's "delighted for HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with the announcement of their wedding at Windsor Castle next year." The statement continued, saying, "Saturday 19 May promises to be a wonderful day with such a special royal occasion being followed by English football’s showpiece event, the Emirates FA Cup Final.
With millions coming together to watch both events at home and around the world, it will be a day to celebrate."
A Kensington Palace spokesman also acknowledged the conflicting sporting event, prior to declaring the royal wedding's official start time. "We are aware of it and we haven't announced times yet. It will be considered as part of the further planning," said the spokesman. Having the royal wedding on a Saturday also threw everyone for a loop, since most have traditionally been held on a weekday (Will and Kate wed on a Friday). The Kensington Palace spokesman went on to say that a Saturday wedding would "give the public the greatest opportunity to watch, come out, support, and get involved."
Harry and Meghan's wedding will begin at noon in the United Kingdom (7 a.m. EST), but no times have been announced for the FA Cup. However, ITV News reports that previous kickoffs have begun at 5:30 p.m. Fans have wondered whether William might be able to quickly travel to Wembley via helicopter before the evening wedding reception, but William has chosen not to because the game may run into overtime.
But, on a more positive (and quirky) note, the wedding date also happens to fall on the same day as another UK event—National Redhead Day, according to the Huffington Post. How fitting for Prince Harry! Thankfully, this one won't cause any rifts.
While it's still unconfirmed whether Harry has asked his brother to serve as his best man, completely prioritizing the royal wedding over the FA Cup should earn him major brownie points and make him even more of a shoo-in. Nothing says royal brotherly love better than that!