King Charles meets Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney on Wrexham AFC visit
King Charles met Wrexham AFC co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney as he paid a visit to the football club.
The King and Queen visited the Racecourse Stadium, which was bought by the actors in 2021, on Friday and met players and staff as well as the co-chairmen during a tour of the Racecourse Ground.
Deadpool actor Reynolds and McElhenney, who stars in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, joked they had had etiquette lessons ahead of the visit.
Speaking to media ahead of their meeting, Reynolds said: “I would say that we’re impossibly excited to welcome him to the Racecourse ground, this historic church that resides in the heart of Wrexham and is the heart of Wrexham.
“Rob and I both said early on, and this holds true and for the rest of our lives, we will do anything to uplift and elevate this community and this club and having the King pay a visit is certainly one way to do it. That’s for sure. Very excited.”
The actors said they had not watched the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial Netflix show, which aired the day before the visit.
McElhenney said: “I’ve never heard of it.”
The stars have chronicled their takeover of the club in documentary Welcome to Wrexham, which was being filmed when the King and Camilla visited.
McElhenney said he thought the King must be a fan of the club.
He said: “This is an incoming call. So we hope that he’s a fan. If not, we’ll make him a fan.”
Ryan Reynolds said he hoped to talk to the monarch about the work they were doing to improve the club and stadium.
He said: “I would love to tell him a little bit about what it is that we’re hoping to achieve with the renovation of the Kop stand, and it’s not even a renovation, I would say that it’s a complete reimagining of the Kop stand, and what that will mean to not just the club, but the community of Wrexham as well.”
Asked if he might offer them a gift of Aviation Gin, the company which he owns, Reynolds said: “I don’t want to compete with the Royal gin now. That might create a conflict of interest.”
The King and Camilla walked through the players’ tunnel onto the pitch at the ground, where they met Reynolds, McElhenney and club executives and greeted players from the first team before posing for a picture.
The King was heard wishing players luck for their upcoming game on Saturday, while Camilla told another player: “It’s an extraordinary story.”
Camilla wore a printed silk dress and Russell and Bromley boots and wrapped up against the cold temperatures in a camel cashmere coat by Anna Valentine and a wide-brimmed fluffy hat.
They watched football demonstrations from the women and youth teams on the pitch.
The Royals also met staff from the club shop, administration team, coaches and medical staff and learned about the redevelopment of the club from strategic advisor to the board Shaun Harvey, as well as meeting contractors and architects involved in the project.
The King joked about the pitch to head groundsman Paul Chaloner, saying: “It is proper grass isn’t it, not that plastic stuff?”
The King and Camilla went on to meet disabled liaison officer for Wrexham AFC, Kerry Evans, and participants of Powerchair football.
Ms Evans, 47, said : “It’s very, very special, what an honour.
“The King and Camilla both said it’s absolutely amazing the work we’ve been doing here.
“I never thought we’d have royalty at the club, now we’ve had Hollywood royalty and real royalty!”
Wrexham AFC was the first club in Wales to offer Powerchair football, a team participation sport for people who use electric wheelchairs.
The royal couple also met 97-year-old Wrexham fan Arthur Massey.
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