Prince William meets Chinese president

Britain's Prince William told President Xi Jinping he is "looking forward" to learning about soccer in China.

Prince William
Prince William

Britain's Prince William is "looking forward" to learning about soccer in China.

The 32-year-old prince - who supports British team Aston Villa - has undertook an historic meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing and the two men bonded over their love of sport.

Chatting through interpreters, William said: "I look forward to, as you say, strengthening UK/China relations and building things for the future.

"I also gather you're quite a football fan. I'm looking forward to learning about China's football."

The two men spoke in the Great Hall of the People - home to the Chinese Congress - where the president praised William's family for their "support" in relations between their two countries.

He said: "The British royal family holds great influence not just in the UK but across the world.

"Over the years the royal family has shown great interest in, and support for, Chinese/UK relations. And members of the royal family have done a lot and contributed positively to (the) changes and co-operation between our two countries in areas ranging from trade to environment protection ... and cultural exchanges."

The Chinese leader also encouraged William - whose wife Duchess Catherine has remained in the UK with their 20-month-old son Prince George as she is pregnant - to tell his family about his trip, then extended an open invitation to his grandmother Queen Elizabeth and other royals to visit the country.

He said: "I know this is your royal highness' first visit to China. In China we have two sayings; first, hearing about something is not as good as seeing it.

"And the second saying is hearing about something 100 times is not the same as seeing it once. So I very much welcome your royal highness and other members of the royal family to make a visit to China and see more parts of China."

William had brought with him a manu regia - an official invitation from the queen to the president to make a state visit to the UK later this year - and he handed over the invite to the Chinese leader.

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