Buckingham Palace has hosted an array of garden parties, concerts and festivals over the years, and now its lawns are to play host to its first ever official football match.
Prince William has helped organise the game, which will see the Palace lawn become the world’s most exclusive football pitch when two of England’s oldest amateur clubs play in the unique Southern Amateur League fixture.
The match has been arranged by the Duke of Cambridge, in his capacity as president of the Football Association, as part of the celebrations of the FA’s 150th anniversary. It is set to take place on 7 October.
William, who recently became a new dad when his wife Kate Middleton gave birth to their baby son, Prince George, got special permission from the Queen, who will still be at Balmoral when the match takes place.
Wembley groundsman Tony Stones will work with the royal household gardeners to create a pitch in the 40-acre gardens of the famous landmark, which requires marking out a pitch of 100m by 60m and the erection of goalposts.
William will host the match, between the world’s oldest Association Football club, Civil Service FC, and their local rivals Polytechnic FC, and also present medals to 150 grassroots volunteers in recognition of their dedication to the sport.
The new dad praised the 400,000 volunteers every year who help run local matches, and to whom the game is a tribute.
He said: “In our 150th year, it is hugely important for the FA to honour the efforts of the many thousands of volunteers who week in, week out, help to provide the opportunity for millions more people to enjoy football at grassroots level.
“Inviting 150 of these volunteers to Buckingham Palace provides a fitting way for the FA to pay tribute and give thanks.”
Just 200 people will attend the game, which will be invitation only, including a small number of officials and guests from the two west London-based clubs.