Prince William and his wife Kate visited Leicester’s King Power Stadium on Wednesday to pay tribute to late owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who was killed in a helicopter crash last month.
After sharing a few minutes with the owner’s family, including his son Aiyawatt, the duke and duchess of Cambridge left a bouquet of flowers among a sea of other floral tributes close to the crash site.
Vichai’s helicopter plummeted to the ground moments after taking off from the pitch following a match against West Ham on October 27, also killing four others.
During their time at the club, William and Kate met charities and fans who benefited from Vichai’s generosity and William told one charity boss “he was the gel, the glue of the community”.
He added: “If only more owners took his example of how to benefit the community, be involved.”
The duke, who is president of the Football Association, had met the Leicester owner in London to discuss his charity work and football just a few weeks before the crash.
In a speech to senior officials and players from the club, including star striker and England forward Jamie Vardy, William highlighted Leicester City’s incredible Premier League triumph in 2015-16.
“You wrote the best underdog story in the history of modern sport,” he said.
“And when the man that led this club to victory died so tragically, the people of this city revealed with their outpouring of admiration, that they too shared much of the character that was so central to who Vichai was.”
William, a former air ambulance helicopter pilot, revealed he had flown in the past with pilot Eric Swaffer, who died in the accident, describing the experience as a “privilege”.
Leicester City season-ticket holder Kev Butler, 51, said: “There are clubs with load and loads of money but it’s not about money, it’s about how you treat the fans, how you look after the fans, so these people have been superb.”