England’s victory in the Rugby World Cup final was a mixed blessing for the team’s shirt sponsors, telecoms company 02. The team’s victory was a boost for the company, but the most high-profile England supporter at the event, that telegenic teenager, heavily-photographed and much-filmed Prince Harry, wasn’t wearing the right team shirt. The shirt, which Prince Harry refused to change, was an old model bearing 02’s former name, BT Cellnet. The sponsors saw Prince Harry wearing the "wrong" shirt at England's other matches and tried everything to persuade him to ditch it for the latest version, complete with the O2 logo. They sent him several new jerseys and even enlisted the help of the Rugby Football Union, their £8 million commercial partner. The Prince, however, was having none of it: his old shirt was a present from England star and match-winner Jonny Wilkinson and was, as His Highness put it, a lucky shirt since England always won when he wore it.

A senior manager with 02 is reported as saying: "It's very disappointing for us because the Prince has attracted worldwide media attention on television and on the front pages of newspapers, but the commercial value for us has been zero. We sent the Prince a few new shirts but he wanted to wear what he considered to be his lucky shirt. England did win the World Cup, so maybe it was a lucky shirt after all”. A spokesman for the Rugby Football Union added: "We tried to get him to change, but wearing Jonny Wilkinson's old shirt is his way of supporting the team. If he wants to wear Cellnet we can't stop him. Royalty are not going to be commercial". 02’s disappointment was compounded by the fact that its opportunities to capitalise on its sponsorship in Australia had already been severely curtailed. The World Cup organisers banned teams from wearing sponsors' logos on their shirts and insisted on "clean" stadiums to avoid "commercial clutter". Under the tournament rules, no sponsor other than an official commercial partner was allowed to advertise within 500 yards of any of the grounds, while team logos were banned from training pitches and even the clothes worn by players as they travel to a match.

The IPKat, not known as a keen royalist, has some sympathy with the prince. Since English teams do not normally win anything through their own efforts, it must be assumed that the wearing of the wrong shirt was the reason why the team won. On a legal note, there is no basis upon which 02 could compel anyone to abandon the use of shirts bearing its former company name and logo, notwithstanding the fact that such use may cause confusion or undermine the value of the later name and logo.

Lucky shirts here, here and here
Some other prominent royal Henries here: Henry V, Henry VII and Henry VIII


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