Rugby League, King Charles & the Aussie PM

After the coronation of a new king on Saturday, it is perhaps inevitable that we should reflect on any links we can find with Rugby League, either at the Coronation itself or in terms of whether King Charles might take an interest in our sport, perhaps even attending a Rugby League Challenge Cup Final or a Test match at some point during his reign.

Rugby League did have two attendees at the Coronation with a Rugby League link.

Tony Albanese (above), the Prime Minister of Australia, was invited to the Coronation at Westminster Abbey and made a point of wearing socks that bore the colours of his NRL club.

Albanese is an avid South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter and his socks reflected the Rabbitohs’ team colours of cardinal red and myrtle green.

Inevitably a photo of the socks appeared in the Australian media.

Albanese was photographed with a group of about 20 Australians who had been invited to the Westminster Abbey ceremony.

“I’m proud to have this incredible group of Australians representing our country at the Coronation of King Charles III,” he tweeted.

One of those Aussies was Adam Hills, the comedian who presents Channel 4’s Rugby League coverage. Of course he is also a South Sydney supporter and he responded humorously to his Prime Minister’s tweet.

“I’m so honoured to be able to witness history with these impressive Aussies,” he wrote.

“If you’re wondering, the main topic of conversation was how we were all gonna last six hours without a wee.”

So will we see King Charles at any Rugby League events in the foreseeable future?

We would hope so, but we won’t hold our breath.

His mother was the chief guest at two Challenge Cup Finals in 1960 and 1967, while his father presented the Cup in 1949 and 1955. Prince Philip was thought to be quite a Rugby League fan.

But the same can’t be said of his son. King Charles always enjoyed playing polo as a young man. But apart from that, there is little evidence that he enjoys team sports.

Perhaps his daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales, who is now the Patron of the Rugby Football League, can encourage him to begin taking an interest in our sport.

This is this week’s ‘UpFront’ column in the new edition of League Express, which is in the shops on Monday or can be downloaded digitally. To take out a subscription, either print or digital, go to