Sunday, October 1, 2023

What Arsenal star Bukayo Saka said after meeting new King Charles III on England duty

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Bukayo Saka has spoken of the honour he felt meeting now King Charles III.

The Arsenal winger met the new King in June during an England training camp in preparation for the UEFA Nations League tie against Italy, with manager Gareth Southgate allowing him time off to meet the Prince of Wales, as he was at the time.

Saka was joined at Buckingham Palace after being in London at the St George’s Park training base for his country, but 500 invited guests were hosted by Charles and the now Queen consort Camilla. Charles was proclaimed King yesterday (September 10) after Queen Elizabeth II passed away, aged 96, on Thursday, September 8.

Speaking at the Palace in June, Saka said, “It is an honour to be invited here. Obviously, I know how valuable the royal family are and to be able to be here to meet them. Obviously, I had to leave the England camp, so I have to thank Gareth for letting me do that because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am so happy.

“I didn’t have to convince Gareth. He understood how important this is and how special this is, so he was happy for me to come. Not everyone has the honour of being invited here. It is something that I will remember forever.”

The event, a Commonwealth Diaspora reception, celebrates and recognises the important contribution the Commonwealth provides within the United Kingdom.

Saka was a substitute in Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Zurich in the Europa League on Thursday, just hours after the Queen’s death was announced. A minute of silence was held in Switzerland as a mark of respect. The Gunners’ match against Everton was cancelled along with the rest of the football matches in England between September 9-11 whilst the country mourns and pays respect to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

The next Europa League match, due to be against PSV Eindhoven on Thursday, is set to go ahead at the Emirates, but there are still doubts over next weekend’s Premier League clash against Brentford.

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