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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May 2005, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
William to join Lions rugby tour
Prince William
Prince William will perform his first solo engagements
Prince William will join the Lions rugby team on their summer tour of New Zealand, it has been announced.

He will spend time with the players while they train in July before watching their second and third test matches against the All Blacks.

The prince, 22, will perform his first solo engagements representing the Queen on the trip after leaving university.

He will mark the anniversary of the end of World War II at ceremonies in Wellington and Auckland.

William, who is studying for his geography finals at St Andrews University, was invited to support the British and Irish Lions by coach Sir Clive Woodward, Clarence House said.

'Great boost'

He will join World Cup winning heroes including Jonny Wilkinson and Laurence Dallaglio.

Mike Tindall, the boyfriend of the prince's cousin Zara Phillips, is a doubt for the tour because of injury.

William has indicated that he is absolutely delighted to be joining us and that he wants to get his hands dirty
British Lions

Sir Clive said he was "delighted" the prince would be spending time with the team.

"It will be a great boost for the team as he is a great supporter of the game," he said.

"He is going to be with the team for certain periods and it all adds to the sense of occasion around these key tests."

A spokeswoman for the Lions said Sir Clive had a "hands-on role" planned for William.

"William has indicated that he is absolutely delighted to be joining us and that he wants to get his hands dirty," he said.

"He could be involved in training, setting up - all manner of things."

Series of firsts

The prince's spokesman Paddy Harverson said William was "a big fan" of rugby and was "really looking forward" to the tour.

"He's proud to be representing the Queen at events to mark the end of World War II," he added.

The prince's appearance at memorial services to commemorate the end of the war will represent his first ever solo engagements, his first official representations of the Queen and his first engagements abroad. He will not be accompanied by girlfriend Kate Middleton.



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