Why Was Prince William Booed? Liverpool Fans' Actions Explained

Prince William was booed by soccer fans at the FA Cup final as a rebellion against the establishment rather than due to personal animosity, experts have said.

Liverpool fans were blamed for boos that rung out at Wembley Stadium when the Duke of Cambridge's presence was announced on the tannoy on Saturday. U.K. lawmaker Karen Bradley, a former Conservative Party culture secretary, called for those responsible to face consequences, among condemnation from the British political class.

However, the slight may in reality have little to do with the prince as an individual and everything to do with the political history of the club and the city where it is based. In 1989, the Hillsborough disaster saw 96 people killed in a human crush at a match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Liverpool fans were initially blamed erroneously for the incident. Last year, South Yorkshire and West Midlands police forces agreed to pay compensation to 600 people over a cover-up of mistakes by officers on the day, the BBC reported.

Prince William Visits Football Club
Prince William was booed at the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium in London on May 14. The negative reaction may have been an expression of anti-establishment feeling. Above, William is seen visiting the Heart of Midlothian Football Club during a visit to Scotland on May 12, 2022. Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Connor O'Neill, a football writer at local paper the Liverpool Echo, cited the catastrophe as a major cause of fans' widespread distrust in the establishment, alongside the politics of the 1980s when Margaret Thatcher was Britain's prime minister.

O'Neill told the Daily Mirror: "The origins of why the red half of Merseyside boo the national anthem can be traced back to the 1980s. The Conservative government's 'managed decline' of the city was then followed by the failings of the government following the Hillsborough disaster further entrenched those feelings."

Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror, told Good Morning Britain: "There is a long tradition of Liverpool fans going back to the 1980s and Thatcher and they're not booing the queen, it's booing the establishment. You've got to remember at the end of the period you had Hillsborough when Liverpool fans and people were treated appallingly by the establishment."

Liverpool, famous internationally as the home of The Beatles, is a port city that had a strong industrial economy that collapsed in the 1980s. Thatcher was perceived as being indifferent to the suffering of workers during that time when there were riots, industrial unrest, and clashes with the local Labour-run council, the BBC reported.

Whether personal or not, for Prince William the boos come fresh on the back of a disastrous tour of the Caribbean in March which was intended to celebrate 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. There were protests and calls for reparations and an apology for slavery, while Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness indicated a desire to remove the queen as head of state after meeting William and his wife, Kate Middleton, on March 23.

The queen's Platinum Jubilee also got off to a rocky start when Prince Andrew settled a sexual abuse lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre, who the Duke of York now acknowledges is a victim of Jeffrey Epstein. He denied her allegations of rape but paid an out-of-court settlement.

Andrew caused a further wave of headlines when he played an unexpectedly prominent role in a memorial service for Prince Philip, walking his mother to her seat despite having pledged to retreat from public life.

There are early signs dissatisfaction may be creeping into younger audiences in Britain, with more 18 to 34-year-olds indicating they want to abolish the monarchy rather than keep it in a recent survey by YouGov.