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Thursday, April 28, 2011

'Last day of freedom': Biker Wills speeds off for final kickabout as single man

By Fay Schlesinger and Richard Simpson

Easy rider: William roars out of Clarence House on his beloved Ducati as he went to spend one of his last nights as a bachelor by playing five-a-side football with the boys

Prince William has already confessed that his knees are ‘tapping quite nervously’ as his wedding day approaches.

But nerves did not stop the 28-year-old jumping on his motorbike to spend one of his last nights as a bachelor by playing five-a-side football with the boys.

During a kick-about in a South London park at 10pm on Tuesday, one of William’s friends was overheard referring to his ‘last day of freedom’.

At one point, a team-mate wearing a baseball cap and blue shirt grabbed his arm and bounced the football off the back of his head while the others laughed and jeered.

A second friend then took over, throwing the ball at William’s growing bald patch.

The prince seemed embarrassed by the spectacle and bowed his head in an attempt to shrug off the attention.

Wearing England shorts, a black shirt and socks in the colour of his favourite team, Aston Villa, he sprinted around the park playing central defence to shouts of ‘William’ and ‘Wills’.

Playing with the boys: William looks exhausted as he's flanked by friends after the kick-about in a South London park. One of William's friends was overheard referring to his 'last day of freedom'

Four royal protection officers stood on the sidelines – and even ran off to collect the ball when it soared over a fence.

The 45-minute kickabout is a regular fixture for William whenever he has time off from working as a search and rescue pilot in Anglesey, North Wales.

If his bride-to-be had grumbled about how a sliding tackle could ruin the wedding by leaving him with grazes or even a broken leg, the prince did not let it affect his evening.

But he decided to forgo the usual trip to a pub in Battersea following the game.

Instead, he returned to St James’s Palace on the black £15,000, 180mph Ducati superbike which is his pride and joy.

Pensive: William looked thoughtful as he played football with a group of friends. Perhaps he was having some last-minute jitters

The prince is often spotted zooming around the country roads of Anglesey with Kate riding pillion.

He even has patriotic knee protectors decorated with the England flag.

But last year his father Prince Charles told of his fears about the dangers of the high-powered machines, which are also popular with Prince Harry.

At a reception in December, Charles said: ‘I always worry about them. It’s about other cars not being able to see you. I’m always telling my sons that.’



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