England Lionesses enjoy Royal welcome

The Duke of Cambridge meets members of the England Women's Football team during a breakfast reception at Kensington Palace, London.

The Duke of Cambridge meets members of the England Women's Football team during a breakfast reception at Kensington Palace, London.

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England Women’s World Cup team were guests at a Kensington Palace breakfast reception today hosted by the Duke of Cambridge.

The Lionesses - featuring north east players Steph Houghton, Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze, Carly Telford and Jordan Nobbs - finished the tournament, staged in Canada, as Europe’s top side after their 1-0 third-place play-off win over Germany in Edmonton at the weekend.

The Duke of Cambridge talks to England's (left-right)  Karen Carney, Ellen White and captain Stepeh Houghton as he meets members of the England Women's Football team during a breakfast reception at Kensington Palace, London.

The Duke of Cambridge talks to England's (left-right) Karen Carney, Ellen White and captain Stepeh Houghton as he meets members of the England Women's Football team during a breakfast reception at Kensington Palace, London.

William, who is president of the Football Association, closely followed the progress of head coach Mark Sampson’s squad during the World Cup which was won by the USA.

He sent a number of messages of support to the squad during the tournament and even made a surprise phone call ahead of their semi-final match against Japan.

Commenting last week William said: “I hope they will be proud of what they have achieved. They have inspired thousands of girls and boys around the country and entered history as one of England’s great teams.”

Huge interest has built around the England squad over the last month resulting in the FA launching a participation drive, called We Can Play. The initiative is aimed at encouraging girls aged between seven and 12 to sign up and find out where they can get involved with football.

The Duke last saw the England Women’s team in May at the FA’s National Football Centre, Saint George’s Park, as they made their final preparations for the World Cup.