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Prince William releases sad message on Princess Kate's birthday

Wales rugby legend JPR Williams has died aged 74

Prince William and Kate Middleton visit Army Training Centre Pirbright© Getty
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
January 9, 2024
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The Prince of Wales has taken to social media to release a statement following the death of Wales rugby star JPR Williams. 

On Tuesday, which coincides with Princess Kate's 42nd birthday, Prince William remembered the late sports legend by writing: "There was no one quite like him on the rugby field. A true @WelshRugbyUnion great, my thoughts are with JPR Williams’ family and friends. W." 

The royal, who is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union, also wrote the same message out in Welsh. It read: "Roedd e'n gymeriad unigryw ar y cae rygbi. Un o wir fawrion @WelshRugbyUnion, mae fy meddyliau gyda theulu a chyfeillion JPR Williams. W."

J. P. R. Williams at Wimbledon in 2023© Getty
J. P. R. Williams has passed away at the age of 74

JPR Williams, the former London Welsh, Bridgend and Barbarians full-back, died at the age of 74. A statement from the Williams family said: "JPR died peacefully today at the University Hospital of Wales surrounded by his loving wife and four children, after a short illness, bravely battling bacterial meningitis. The family request privacy at this difficult time." 

The sporting legend won three Five Nations Grand Slams - in 1971, 1976, and again two years later. JPR Williams stepped away from international rugby in 1981, but continued to play rugby on occasion before his retirement in 2003. 

Prince William© Getty
Prince William is the patron of the Welsh Rugby Union

The official X account for the Welsh Rugby Union released this message: "The world of rugby has lost one of its greatest players of all time... WRU President Terry Cobner leads the tributes to JPR Williams #RIP #JPRWilliams." 

The Prince of Wales has been associated with the WRU since 2007, when he became its vice royal patron. Almost a decade later, his grandmother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, passed on the role of patron over to him.

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